Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, Cruel fate! Why do you mock us?

Fate is a bitch. No one is feeling that more than Yao Ming and the Rockets right now. Not me, not the fans, not even China. Fate builds you up to cut you down. Fate laughs at your notion of "hopes" and "dreams." Fate is a sadistic thing and she laughs.

In the four seasons since T-Mac was paired with Yao Ming, this stretch in February was quite simply the best the Rockets had played. Not because the pair themselves were anything spectacular--they were playing perhaps below their average--but because they had all come together as a team. And they looked like they believed. There was a twinkle in their eyes. T-Mac and Yao believed in each other, trusted the team as a unit in a way they hadn't previously known how. They were playing like winners.

Now
Yao is out. And it's heart-wrenching to Rockets fans. Not just because he's facing an injury, but because he's facing another injury. The 3rd major injury in as many years. Hope suddenly turns to doubt. As much as we love Yao, it is possible now, if not likely, in our minds, that this wasn't meant to be. And the same thing is bound to have occurred to him. It is exasperating. It's taken until now to write this as yesterday was spent in a murky daze, with intermittent head-shaking and sighing.

Then the Rockets kept their composure; and like the professionals they are, welcomed the Wizards into town with a
94-69 thrashing, pushing their win streak to 13. A display of resolve that should have had us fans snapping collectively out of it. This season is not over yet. And playing as they are, the Rockets can still make the playoffs and still get out of the first round, which was ultimately this season's goal. They have enough talent to it. So there is still much to give our hope, despite the understandable wariness that comes with that lingering sting of fate, now is when the Rockets need it most.

Originally posted at Yao Central on February 27, 2008 06:25 AM

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