The fog and volatile storms that hung over Chicago on Wednesday seemed too perfect after the Bulls lost a third game in a row to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The weather knew that the city was just not itself, and expressed the impending doom that awaits our beloved basketball team.
Because Bulls fans, the future, like the forecast, is far from bright. Only eight times in NBA history has a team come back from a 3-1 deficit. The last team was the 2006 Phoenix Suns, who then lost to the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.
The outlook wouldn't be so gloomy if they were playing well, but they're not. Derrick Rose can't get shots that worked for him all season to work. Joakim Noah is letting his emotions get the better of him, which is causing foul trouble. Kyle Korver is 2-9 from the three-point line in the three losses to Miami. They're losing the battle in turnovers, offensive boards and fast-break play. As NBA scribe Kelly Dwyer wrote, the team is just not playing up to their potential.
So how do you cheer for a team who can win but won't? A team who will lose to the Heat, a team with unearned cockiness and bravado and bad manners?
We do it for next year. We're Chicagoans, so we're experts at hoping for next year, but this is different. This is how we help a young, inexperienced team become champions. Though Rose, Thibodeau and Company dazzled us throughout the year, the playoffs are too often about a team who can handle the rigors and the mind games of playing the same season for seven games. To learn to do that, they need the backing of every Chicagoan who has ever donned a Bulls t-shirt.
So we cheer for them. We tune into the game, we turn on the radio, we watch it through our computer screens and we yell, "Let's Go Bulls!" We cheer for them because we know that next year, this will help them raise that trophy, and maybe get that damn fog to roll out, too.