Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Bucks

Narrative Framing, the Milwaukee Bucks, and You

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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!

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**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.)

Bucks Beat Pistons, Break 9-Game Losing Streak

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The 2013-2014 Milwaukee Bucks have not been a good team, to put it mildly. Going into tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons, they were by far the worst team in the league with a record of 7-33, and had lost nine games in a row.

Because the Bucks hadn’t won any games in 2014, the team has been in an ugly mood.

So have the fans, who’ve taken to booing home players after they’ve missed free throws. Which is very bad behavior on the part of the fans, of course, but can you blame them? It’s no fun to go cheer on your favorite team, only to watch them creatively find yet another way to lose.

The Bucks, in short, have been pathetic.

But tonight’s game against the Pistons was a bit different from the start. The Bucks actually made their first basket, a nice change. They were competitive at halftime, losing by only six points, 56-50. And they were actually ahead for much of the fourth quarter, where they outscored Detroit, 23-16.

Even with all that, the Bucks barely squeaked out a win against the Pistons, 104-101. The game was in doubt until the final 1.4 seconds of the game, though to be fair to the Bucks, there were some extremely debatable calls by the referees — the worst of the lot being a no-call after Brandon Knight was actually thrown out of bounds by a Piston player, yet the ball somehow went back to Detroit. Had those calls been more understandable, the Bucks would’ve taken a comfortable five-point lead with thirty seconds to play . . . instead, there were multiple opportunities for the Pistons to win.

Instead, the Pistons fell to 17-25. (Check out the Bucks’ Tumblr page if you don’t believe me.)

This was an interesting game for many reasons besides the odd decisions from the referees. First, it was Caron Butler bobble head night — as Butler is a native of Racine, and as this is his first season with the Bucks, he had many friends and family in the stands to cheer him on. This may have been one reason why Butler played exceptionally well this evening with 30 points, seven rebounds and a season-high five assists.

Second, Milwaukee’s PG Knight used to play for the Pistons, while PG Brandon Jennings, of course, used to play for the Bucks. So there was a lot of hard-fought action on both sides from those two men, because they were playing for pride. Jennings finished with 30 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Knight countered with 16 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Third, there were two Bucks players out with illness, C Larry Sanders and SG O.J. Mayo — both are normally in the starting lineup — while a third ill player, PG Luke Ridnour, did well off the bench, hitting two of his four three-point attempts and finishing with eight points in 19 minutes.

Any way you slice it, the 2013-2014 Milwaukee Bucks have been dreadful. But it’s nice to see them scratch and claw their way to an unexpected win for a change, rather than lose, fight with each other in the locker room, lose some more, fight in bars and get injured, and, of course, lose.

It’s hard to know what to expect on Friday, when the Bucks will take on the Cavaliers (15-27) in Cleveland. Will Milwaukee show some moxie again, as they did this evening? Or will they go out and lose yet again?

The smart money is probably going to be on the Bucks losing as many games as they can, as they seem more interested in getting a high draft choice than showing their fans that they actually care about winning games. But I have a funny feeling that the Bucks might actually beat Cleveland, just to be contrary.

If they do, I’ll be glad to write about them again on Friday . . . because if the Bucks can win two games in a row, that’ll be a verifiable hot streak, thus a story, thus something I can blog about without wanting to fall asleep.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 23, 2014 at 12:02 am