Chicago Bulls: Therapy for a Chicago sports fan, session 3

Chicago Bulls fans, like many Chicago sports fans in general, have plenty to deal with on a daily basis.

What do fans of each Chicago sports team have in common?

We all don’t trust ownership.

In response, I have decided to go to therapy for all of our fans. I’ve had two sessions so far. I’m hoping that this is my last session to avoid talking about the rage I have towards the Bears.

You may ask why we should go to therapy for a team on the rise like the Bulls? I would argue that this is the time we need it the most. When a bad relationship ends, it is most important to deal with the past trauma and work on ourselves.

There was a lot of damage done, but thankfully we have therapy for this.

Let’s get into our third session.

*Steps into therapy session*

Tim, I’m glad you decided to come back. I know you felt pretty good at the end of the last session; however, we have a long way to go. Remember; however, we are here now in the present moment. 

So, how are you feeling today?

It’s nice to be back, Dr. Kristin. I watched a fantastic win the other night for the Chicago Bulls, and I want to talk about them.

Looking back as a fan, I can vaguely remember driving around post-championships in the late ’90s and hearing everyone honking their car horns after their final Championship.

Sadly, I have never seen this team win at a high level.

The sour taste of losing is too familiar, however. Life as an early Chicago Bulls fan consisted of way too many mock drafts, dreams, and excitement about potential draft picks like Eddy Curry, Tyson Chandler, and Marcus Fizer.

They have broken my heart as well — none worse, however, than the fall of Derrick Rose. I swear if I never got injured, the Bulls would have won at least one more Championship.

 

Thanks for sharing that. 

Anyway, I want to be present as we talked about last time.

There is good news here: Unlike some other front offices in this city, *coughBearscough* the Chicago Bulls saw an organizational problem this offseason and brought in actual basketball guys to fix it. Our new executive vice president Artrus Karnosvious was given complete autonomy by management and brought in a well-rounded front-office team to compliment him.

Our coach, Billy Donavan, has been fantastic. Donavan is the perfect fit to develop our young players while smart enough to play to their strengths. He knows how to push their buttons in the right way as well (See second-half benching’s vs. Pistons).

In contrast, Jim Boylen had no idea how to use his players. For example, he would frequently use three-point shooter Otto Potter in pick-and-roll isolation situations (in which he would lose the ball); While our best isolation players, Zach Lavine and Coby White, would stand around waiting. How about the fact that he shattered Lauri Markkanen’s confidence? Or his misuse of Thad Young? I still get upset thinking about last season.

See- I told you- I get stuck in these loops of frustration from the past couple of seasons’ ineptitude.

I’m going to introduce you to something called Snake Breaths. Let’s watch a video.

Have you seen this?

I am so confused right now.

That’s OK- One of the quickest ways to get back to the present moment is through your breath.

Watch me—take a deep breath in from your diaphragm, exhale with a long, slow hiss until you run out of air. You try this a few times.

*sounds of potential Parseltongue is heard echoing around the room*

Feel better now?

*nods*

I don’t want to deal with something.

And why is that?

I don’t want to accept that the Chicago Bulls may never be good enough to win a title any time soon.

We are so far away from being championship contenders. Once again, we lose to the good teams (Lakers, Clippers, Celtics), but beat up on the bad teams (Knicks, Hornets, Rockets, Pistons). Here we are, stuck in basketball limbo, which is impossible to break out of without a real superstar player.

*Does shaky snake breath*

Realistically, this team is young and learning how to win. There will be epic 25-point comebacks like they did against the Pistons on Wednesday, but there’s also going to be frustrating five-point leads blown in the final minute, as they did several weeks ago against the Trailblazers.

Hold on. Go back to what you were saying about a superstar player. Let’s delve more in-depth into that issue. 

As a fan, I want to take back whatever little ounce of control I have by escaping and projecting fake off-seasons, mock drafts, and player trades. When it comes down to it, I’m struggling to trust these new front office people to fix this team because frickin’ GarPax destroyed my faith in the Chicago Bulls organization.

Can they even fix it, though? Dr. Kristin, I can’t hide from the fact it is SO RARE for a team to win an NBA Title without superstars. How will the new front office positively change our brand to get the superstars to sign here after GarPax messed it up so badly?

I don’t expect to sign one; we must bank on developing the team through the draft. What are the chances, however, of finding a superstar while drafting consistently in the 10-24 range? You don’t just luck into a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it’s not every day where you find a Nikola Jokic in the mid-’40s. It’s just not realistic to expect that to happen.

It. Sucks.

It sounds like you are projecting your issues into the future.

Alright, alright- the present moment. I get it. Look — My sister-in-law gave me a gift card for the Nike store for Christmas. I have wanted to get a Bulls jersey, and I have a perfect opportunity to do it.

The crux of my issue with the Bulls is playing out in this jersey conundrum. I feel like this purchase is me saying “I do” to this team, yet I’m not sure whose jersey to wear.

Well, this makes perfect sense. Once you slowed down, I heard a little more your fear of trust and commitment in your words. 

Huh?

Well, you have talked about not trusting ownership in all your prior sessions. You’ve been hurt by all these teams once before. Why commit until they win again? Right? 

That blows my mind.

You’re right; I like Carter Jr., but why commit to a jersey for an average player? I don’t want to buy Markkanen’s jersey either since he might not be here next year. I can’t buy White’s since his jersey is sold out; Honestly, I don’t want that jersey anyway.

Zach Lavine is playing out of his mind. However, I would feel so dumb if I dropped $110.00 on a player we could trade later in the season.

I need to think about this one.

That sounds like a good idea.

I do know one thing – I voted for Lavine to be an All-Star.

Awesome! Great progress today. Let’s end it the same way: If you could speak to one person in the organization right now to begin your healing journey, what would you say:

Cristiano Felicio. I would ask him how the heck he is still with the team after all of these years. I would also ask for advice on how to succeed at my job while doing minimal work.

How are you feeling right now? 

A little mixed up, but this is mild compared to the session I’m about to have on the Bears.