Life Lessons from Loving a Losing Team

I’ve become accustomed to celebrating the little victories, both in life, and on the court.

My favorite team, the Los Angeles Clippers, have taught me quite a lot about celebrating the little victories actually. The Clippers aren’t exactly known for their stellar post-season play. Known as “Lob City,” my Clips can put on a show like no others—prior to this season, the “Clip Show” was led by lobs from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan, lobs from Griffin to Jordan (best big on big lob you’ll ever see, in my opinion), and fancy footwork from Jamal Crawford.

Unfortunately, or so it seemed at the time, the Clippers lost Crawford and Paul to trades. Paul wanted to go somewhere he figured he could win a ring, so he left us for the Houston Rockets. Of course, we did acquire some players that add to the team’s prowess; for example, we now have Patrick Beverly, who was First Team All-Defense in the past.

Even with other trades and other people brought in, the Clippers aren’t taken seriously. They’ve always been known to choke during the play-offs, but the absence of Paul has some people wondering will they even make it to the play-offs? Will the Clippers even be a winning team this season?

Can they be led by a “dunk champion” in Griffin? Will Jordan’s lack of free throw shooting ability hurt them in close games? Who are these newcomers on the Clippers? How can head coach Doc Rivers plug in rotation players as starters and expect a winning game?

Clippers lost a lot of players over the summer—J.J. Reddick left, too, along with Luc Mbah a Moute, Paul Pierce, and Marrese Speights. Likewise, in life, I’ve lost people I thought were critical to my life.

When the Clippers lost those players, they upgraded. Maybe the new players couldn’t do what the others needed—but that was okay. What each new player brings to the team equals, and even surpasses, that of the old players.

Notorious for being last minute with my work or forgetting completely, I finally bought a planner. I’ve been on top of things this semester, and my life has gotten all the more easier for it, too. Small victory.

Clippers won their first game of the season on Oct. 19, a 16-point victory of the young Los Angeles Lakers. Now, the Lakers aren’t so great, which makes this win a small victory, but, none the less, a victory. The Clippers meshed well, and they were able to learn where they fit better in the scheme, along with trying new things, like Griffin at the point-forward position more and Griffin at the center position instead of power forward.

Griffin is known for his highlight dunks and jumping over a KIA in the NBA All-Star Game his rookie year, something that got him a nice sponsorship. Despite having a well-rounded post game, being a nice passing big man, increasing his free throw shooting percentage, becoming a jump-shooting threat, and, from what he’s showing early on this season, adding three-pointers to his arsenal, people will still categorize Griffin as just as a dunker.

Likewise, people will categorize you in life. Tell you that you can’t do something. Tell you that you’re still that same person you were when you first came on the scene. To some people, you’ll never grow, never learn.

But don’t let it stop you. Add to your arsenal. Continue to be underrated. Continue to give them something to talk about.

Maybe I’m looking too deep into this. Maybe I’m just a woman pulling at strings to find a reason to keep believing in the Clippers. Hope is, after all, the most powerful tool we have.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Clippers season plays out like my life—despite the doubt, naysayers, newcomers, and problems, it all works out in the end.

Next: Feel Their “Vibes”: #XULA21 Students Showcase Talent