I can remember when I used to get excited before All Star games. I can even remember when, once, I was excited during an All Star game.
But usually I found myself a little miffed by how differently the game is contested compared to a game that actually counts. A little at a time I just sorta drifted away until my interest in the game had fully evaporated. But the All Star break still serves a purpose for me.
Much like New Year's day or an anniversary, it's a moment to reflect back on what has come before it, and to project ahead to what may come next.
As this team embarked on the 2008-09 season, there was a different feeling in my gut. Somehow, I was able to shed the protective layer of caution that had become my cozy companion after so many jarring disappointments of years ago and found the conviction to push all of my emotional chips to the center of the table.
This squad is either gonna break my heart, or make my decade.
Buying into a team that deeply is a recipe for almost certain disaster, but as we reach the quasi-halfway mark of the season, I gotta say:
The plan is right on schedule.
Now, play time is over. The real competition begins when this break is complete. The good teams in the league know when it's "go time". I can't wait to see if these guys in red can set aside the surges and lapses of the first half and settle in and grind out a solid finish to the season.
For what it's worth, I'm betting they will.