“Dad,” my son began, with all the pathos an 8-year-old could muster, “I’m really going to miss you when you leave.”
“I’m going to miss you, too, man,” I told him.
Both of these statements were absolutely true. With a league-wide bye week for the 2K League, I had the opportunity to decamp to the Florida shore for some much-needed time off, and I had the chance to really concentrate on my family. This was something overdue, but also something that’s hard for me to do during the 2K League season. All week long I’m thinking, thinking. On game days I walk around in my own head, doing my best to seem cordial but really just wanting tip time to arrive.
As someone who values self-awareness, I can admit that during the 2K League season, I can be a pretty awful person to live with. I spend most of my time thinking about Grizz Gaming: our last game; our next game; our practice plans; scheduling; and on and on. We play or practice six days a week, which usually leaves me with maybe one full day to lock in with my family. On the other days, my default reaction is plotting and overthinking. While other families take summer vacations, my family spends the summer watching (and living with) the NBA 2K League.
So even as we drove down to Florida, I sat there in stony silence, until my wife finally asked what had me consumed. I explained that I was thinking about an adjustment I wanted to make to our overall defensive strategy, something that would involve everyone on the team having to adjust and make changes. I sat there in the driver’s seat and weighed the options. How would we implement these changes? Was it worth the lift, which is to say, would we get enough of a boost from the changes to make the work worthwhile?
My wife snapped me out of my reverie by asking what I was thinking about, and I took a few minutes to explain my conundrum, and all the thought processes I was trying to think about and process.
Why mess with something that was working? After all, we were 10-4 heading into our bye week, tied for second place in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time in franchise history that we’d won 10 games, and we still have half of the season still ahead of us.
But coming off the week that was, we knew we needed to improve. We’d played two games against the defending champion Wizards, and lost both matchups. (Game one was 72-50, game two was 73-66.) One night later we squared off against a tough 76ers GC team, and we split the series (won game one 70-61, lost game two 60-55). We were coming off a six-game win streak, and to be honest were probably due for a down game. While our first game against the Wizards wasn’t great, we got better as we went along, and by the time we played Philly I felt like we’d gotten our identity back a bit. The two games against the Sixers were like heavyweight fights, two good defensive teams slugging it out with points at a premium, and it felt comforting to get at least one win out of the four games.
After a week at the beach with my family, and after a few players visited home and their families, I drove back to Memphis and we got right back to work. This week we have two tough divisional matchups, against Charlotte and then Orlando.
We’ve made adjustments. We’ve focused on the little things. Now we just have to do what we do.