From December 12th to opening night, I’ll be releasing a random essay on each team in the league. This post is about the New Orleans Hornets. You can follow the series with the “2011-12 Team Previews” and “Zach Attacks” tags at the bottom of the page.
There are many ways a relationship can end, and rarely are they as tidy and painless as when Jerry Seinfeld broke up with Janeane Garofalo’s character on Seinfeld.
Ideally, you’d love for both people to realize that the relationship has run its course at the exact same time. It would help people avoid cheating on each other. It would help people not awkwardly bicker in front of their friends while everybody around them is just hoping they’ll dump each other so you no longer have to watch them argue about if they’ll like the chicken because it’s cooked that way they tried it that one time at the other restaurant and they said they would order it again even though the other person thinks it was when they were on vacation and had nothing to do with being downtown but it doesn’t matter because you’ll just say you don’t like it because you don’t want the other person to be wrong and EVERYBODY JUST WANTS TO STAB THIS COUPLE WITH A FORK WHILE THEY HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE CABERNET TO BREATHE!
Nobody likes that couple and nobody wants to be part of that couple. A relationship is supposed to remain fun and exciting. You’re supposed to feel exhilarated when you wake up next to the person in the morning. You’re supposed to want the day to move faster so you can see them when work is over. You’re supposed to want time to stop when you do finally get to spend the evening together. When it starts to feel like a job or an inconvenience, that’s when people need to realize it’s time to be an adult, face the situation, and end it. But we rarely do that.
We begin to negotiate with ourselves and talk ourselves into accepting that the relationship is fine. Why do we do this? Is it because we’re all just more vulnerable and insecure than we care to admit? There’s always the worry of being alone. Nobody wants to be the cat lady and nobody wants to be the old guy at the club. They’re societal stigmas that view us as undesirable people who are exiled to a lifetime of loneliness. So it’s just easier to be complacent and settle for what’s easy in life.
Is it fun to be in a relationship in which you don’t want to be around the person you’re dating or married to? No, but at least you’re not alone like Dave down the street. He waters his lawn three times a day just to see if anybody will make eye contact while they drive by and be forced to wave at him.
The worry that you’re not good enough, the concern that this is the last time someone will want you, the nightmare that a person will never look at you in a way that melts your stress off your shoulders – these are the things that can consume you when a relationship is ending.
Vulnerability is the spotlight of loneliness. I think Hemingway once said that. Or maybe I just made it up right now.
It’s a shame that New Orleans and Chris Paul had to break up, but it’s nice that it was somewhat mutual. Sure, New Orleans didn’t want to really end the relationship. They were ready to propose, had the ring picked out and everything. The problem was Chris Paul was unsure if the spark was still there. The old times were great and he still loved New Orleans, but it was hard to tell if they were still in love with each other or just afraid to be alone.
It sucks when your franchise player leaves town to be with someone else. There’s literally no replacing it. The face of your organization, your history, your town is now off to be part of something completely foreign to you. When Kevin Garnett was traded from the Timberwolves, I wanted to divorce myself from the team. I was angry that the team had been so inept in putting a team around him that it caused one of the most loyal people in sports to want to leave.
There was even a short period in which I decided I wanted to like a new team. I would become a Bobcats fan because they were new, horrible, and I felt like they needed some loving. That only lasted a short time though. I couldn’t talk myself into Raymond Felton and Matt Carroll long-term. After a couple of weeks, I was still with the Wolves.
For Hornets fans, it’s going to suck when you see Chris Paul come to town wearing someone else’s uniform. It will be confusing. You’ll want him to play well but still lose the game to make him regret not committing to you long-term. But ultimately, you’ll just be happy to see him again and glad that he’s doing well.
New Orleans couldn’t put a good enough team to make Chris Paul believe that staying in NOLA was the right decision to make for his career. You can blame injuries, poor drafting, bad luck, and market size, whatever you want. Regardless of the reason, Chris Paul needed to break up with you to make himself happier. You can’t really fault him, or maybe you can. Either way, both parties will move on and find happiness in their lives.
The Hornets got a great haul for him too. With Eric Gordon, your own draft pick most likely being very high because of how bad you’ll be post-CP3, and acquiring Minnesota’s pick, you’re already back in the gym, getting in shape and ready to go clothes shopping to pick up a new wardrobe. It’s going to take some time to find that someone new, but when you do, the excitement will be there again. You won’t be able wait to come home and see them. You’ll get lost in their eyes once again.
And who knows? Maybe this will be the one and you’ll both end up with some jewelry.