Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Narrative Framing, the Milwaukee Bucks, and You

with 4 comments

Folks, over the past week or so as I’ve battled an illness, I’ve been thinking about how we shape our own narratives. (Again, as this is one of my besetting sins as a novelist.) And that led me to ponder the Milwaukee Bucks, which have had one of the best years in their team’s history and have made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals…which you’d think would be good enough for anyone.

But as the Bucks were expected throughout to go to the NBA Finals, people have been up in arms (including yours truly) when they lost game 5 to the Toronto Raptors at home to put them down three games to two. They now face elimination in game 6.

The thing is, if you think about it, just getting to the Eastern Conference Finals is wonderful. The Bucks were “one and done” last year. And, I believe, the year before that.

But this year, they swept their initial playoff series, against the Detroit Pistons. And then they won easily over the Boston Celtics in the second round.

This, mainly, along with a stellar regular season, is why Bucks fans have taken a doom-and-gloom attitude.

And that led me to consider how else we tend to frame our own narrative in our lives. Do we think of the bright side? (Should we is another question, but that’s for another day.) Or do we think of what’s not working rather than what is, and concentrate on our failings rather than our successes?

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think about the failures, myself. I think about how I could’ve done this, that, or the other better. Sometimes, in the moment, it’s almost like I see myself from above and wonder, “Why can’t I do better than this? Why is it that I can barely explain myself? Why is it that I can’t make better decisions? Why do I run out of time?” and so on.

I wonder if that’s where the Bucks are at, right now. But I strongly suspect, as their season is not over, that they aren’t.

Are they happy to be down 3-2 and facing elimination? Of course not. (Who would be?)

But they have things they can still do. And I believe they’re most likely concentrating on them, and how they need to just do a few more things to get a win (in sports parlance, a W)…they may even be focusing on past success against the Raptors, and be looking at what they’ve done differently (and worse) in this series that hasn’t been working.

Forward, they are probably looking. Not back.

Now, does this make any difference in what happens in Game 6? You better believe it does. They can go in there and do their level best, knowing their season will be over if they don’t give it everything they possibly have.

And of course they could still lose. But if they do, they’ll know — providing they gave it their all, and tried their best, and focused their minds and bodies properly — it wasn’t their time to shine after all.

That can be a bitter lesson, sometimes. Because we try our best, and we want to shine all the time.

But no one — not Michael Jordan, not LeBron James, not Wilt Chamberlain, not George Mikan, nor any other basketball superstar over the years — has ever shined all the time. Because it’s not humanly possible.

So, let’s take a step back, and frame this differently, OK?

The fact is, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is a great player. He may well win the NBA Most Valuable Player award this year, and if so, it’ll be richly deserved.  And he’s  led the Bucks to an excellent season.

These pluses are not negated, nor should they be, if the Raptors do succeed in beating the Bucks.**

How does that relate to your own, personal situation, though?

In essence, you need to learn how to frame your own narrative. Stop beating yourself up because you can’t seem to get ahead no matter how hard you try. Think about your successes once in a while, rather than always and only your failures. And do what you can to remember that you are a vital person with a role to play whether it seems like it or not.

That’s how you can learn from the doom and gloom over the Milwaukee Bucks and their current situation.

What do you think about this blog? Tell me about it in the comments!

———-

**As a fan, I will admit that if the Bucks can’t win game 6 and force a game 7, for a few days I will go around with a bad taste in my mouth. (That comes with the territory.)

4 Responses

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  1. We follow a soccer team Aston Villa (based in the UK city of Birmingham) and once possessors of a proud heritage, but in recent have a knack of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory or raising their fans’ expectations so high and then fading with a whimper. There is a lot of ‘gallows’ humour surrounding them.
    They have a vital game on Monday which could see them return to the top flight, the prestigious Premier League and big, big money- we are not looking forward to Monday, the other team are also chasing that prize.
    So we hope for a pleasant surprise but are expecting disappointment and thus be ready to shrug and get on with our lives because it is not the most important thing we have in front of us (Anyway if they do win the prize, they will have a very hard season ahead of them because they will be up against world class teams).
    Thus we face life.
    Hope you will feel better Barb.
    Best wishes
    Roger

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    May 25, 2019 at 11:48 am

    • Thanks, Roger. I’m working on it. 🙂 Did play the concert on Tuesday, so that’s something. (It took almost everything I had to do it, but I did it.)

      I hope your team does well, even if it still does not win. If they at least go out and give it a good effort, and you can see that effort, you can feel better about it. It’s when they seem like they don’t care much or aren’t trying or they are just on the wrong page compared to the fans that it can be so, so, so irritating.

      And yes, this isn’t the end of the world if the Bucks lose. It’s just the end of their season. And I have to admit, if they do lose, I won’t care much about the NBA Finals at all; let Golden State win again, for all I care.

      Barb Caffrey

      May 25, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      • So pleased you managed to make it to the concert, music is a wonderful medicine. Well done you!

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 26, 2019 at 4:38 am

      • Thanks, Roger! 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        May 26, 2019 at 4:44 am


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