Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Friday, March 24, 2006

Playing for Keeps

Last night, Amare Stoudemire had 20 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks in 19 minutes of play. Those are his only 19 minutes of play this season. He has been sitting on my bench the entire season.

So why am I so excited?

Last season, our league (in its second decade now) decided to switch to being a keeper league. Before each year's draft, we declare what two guys from our previous roster we wish to keep for the next season. You can only keep a guy for three seasons, so you can't horde a guy forever. I'm glad we switched to a keeper league for a few basketball reasons...

--injury plagued season. I cringe as I type this because I get so fed up with guys that claim their team would be great except for injuries. Injuries happen (and often can be predicted). However, this season I have certainly been hammered hard. Amare went down about a month before the season started. Manu has only shown flashes of his form as he has battled minor leg injuries all season. Corey Maggette missed much of the season with an injury. Darius Miles went down with surgery. Then, I traded for Tracy McGrady and two days later he went out for the rest of the season with a back injury. If we were not a keeper league, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.
--fair league. This is the first season that I felt like no one made a "fire sale" at the trade deadline. Owners who are out of the running (like me) still have something to build toward (next year). I clearly have no shot of the championship this season, but I can try to set myself up better for next year.

But more than that, I like the things it makes me consider that correlate with life.

--Commitment. Just one month before the draft this season, I was prepared to name Amare my favorite player for the next three years. In a non-keeper league, I would have avoided him on draft day, knowing he can only provide his team with 15-20 games this season. But as a keeper league, I stashed him on the end of my bench (he is just too good to give up next season without something in return). There is a unique kind of joy when your guy bounces back and reaches the potential he previously had. I can't explain it, but it just feels more noble to see Amare sitting on my bench (where he's been all year) as opposed to being the GM who signed him as a free agent when his return became close.
--Goal Setting. I tend to look ahead far more than I consider the present. Often, I find myself talking to God about what He wants me to be in five years instead of what He wants of me today. By December of this year, if we were not a keeper league, I would have been thinking about next season, which would have had nothing to do with this season. However, in a keeper league, I'm able to think about next season, but always consider that this season is impacting the next. That's a reminder I can always use.
--Handling adversity. Some times we are restricted by our environment, resources or abilities. This does not mean that you don't try your hardest, but it means that your expectations may need to be tempered. For the Steelers, a successful season is a Super Bowl. For the Browns, keeping half your team from being arrested by the end of the season should probably be counted success for them. The same goes for me in ministry. I can't succeed at everything (though that doesn't mean I shouldn't try hard) but I should be comfortable to acknowledge that everything I do won't be deemed a success by others. I also should not assess others on a scale that I have produced.

Welcome back, Amare. In my humble opinion, the Suns just became the team to beat in the West. (And the Caribou just became a team to reckon with next season.)


  • At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the Suns are the team to beat in the entire league, they are now the best.

  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I do hope the Caribou are improved for next year. I like you, Danny, and I want your team to be up where you belong.

    But don't we have to have two keepers?

    Amare is a great start, but...

    Manu had a down year.
    Howard makes one free throw per month.
    T-Mac is T-Mac.

    Maybe Diaw is your keeper...

  • At 11:11 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    this just in: Amare back on shelf.

    I hate seeing that happen, he is such a fun dew to watch.


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