Getting Restless, Looking Forward to Season
by Mark Boyle
September 20, 2012
Training camp starts in just under two weeks. On the one hand, this means the end of summer and my ongoing efforts to become a man of leisure. I like having an endless run of days to do whatever I want whenever I want—who wouldn't?—but there always comes a point where I get restless and look forward to getting back to work.
This time around, there are several reasons I'm anticipating the start of another season. In no particular order:
• This team is good. In the big picture, whether or not the team is strong has minimal impact on how much I enjoy my work. I've enjoyed this job just as much when the Pacers were 28-54 as I did when the team was 62-20. Of course, my job is not dependent on the won-loss record, and when the team is doing well those who are evaluated on that standard (players, coaches, and management) are much more enjoyable to be around.
• I get to spend time with Slick Leonard and Austin Croshere. Though I like both of them, I haven't seen either one since last season ended. That's on me; due to my solitary nature, I withdraw to The Fortress of Solitude and go into Howard Hughes mode once the season ends. (I realize the Howard Hughes reference is dated, but I'm not familiar with any contemporary recluses. Forgive me.) I am particularly excited about Austin's evolution as a broadcaster. You'd be surprised how many former players and coaches think the analyst's job consists of just showing up, but Austin is the antithesis of that. I'm looking forward to getting him even more involved this season and in seasons to come. He'd be perfect if he'd respect my ego just a bit more and stop pounding me into submission in our ongoing Words With Friends competition.
• The NBA is now in Brooklyn. I worked in New York earlier in my career, but for some reason never made it to Brooklyn. Trading the swamps of New Jersey for one of the five boroughs is the geographic equivalent of the Robert Tractor for Dirk Nowitzki trade. Well done, Comrade Prokhorov.
• I can see all of my friends on someone else's dime. Not that I have all an abundance of allies, but many of them live in locales that happen to house Association franchises. Plus, now that the Blue and Yellow Menace is, well, menacing again, a pair of tickets on the road are generally considered fair exchange for dinner and a few cocktails. I am a shameless freeloader.
• It's fun to watch good people enjoy success. This group is similar to the bunch we had back in the ‘90's. Committed professionals, they represent themselves and the franchise well and are willing to venture out into the community. That goes for both players and coaches.
• There appears to be a reasonable chance that the roster will include multiple rookies. If they contribute on the court it's a bonus, but the real reason this is a plus is that our Media Relations Guru (David Benner) and I started a tradition a few years back where every rookie has to buy us a box of quality cigars. So far, these rookies have been oblivious to the reality that they're above both Mr. Benner and me on the Pacers Family Food Chain and have no reason to follow this tradition. I am a shameless freeloader (see above).
We open the pre-season in Fargo October 10th, the first pre-season home game is October 12th, the regular season starts October 31st, and the home opener is November 3rd. Stop by The Fieldhouse. I think you'll like what you see. And if we run into one another, feel free to buy me something from the concession stands.
I am, after all, a shameless freeloader.