I haven't written something here in quite some time.
It has been a truly uneventful offseason, aside from our Artest-Ariza swap. There just hasn't been much to write about. News has been slow, and though they are popular elsewhere, I am not a fan of last-resort posts such as "This Day in History..." or "Guess This Former Rocket." If you don't like to bullshit with people in a real life conversation, I doubt you'd like to read a blog post that essentially serves the same purpose.
However, I finally decided upon something to write about. I have a request for everyone here, or at least those of you that live in Houston. Most importantly, I have a request for you corporate folks who purchase club seats, and then proceed to leave them empty in favor of a trip on the yacht. From what I can tell, they don't think it's necessary nor fun to attend a game unless the Rockets either win 15 games in a row, or make the postseason. Only then do they show their true colors, by actually showing up.
When fans do make an effort, it pays off. The postseason attendance was phenomenal. I know, because when I tried to sneak into the front rows, they were, to my surprise, filled. Every single seat had an owner, and he or she was in attendance.
I want all of you to attend as many Rockets games as you can this season. And once you are in your seat, I want you to be very loud. If you want wins from the makeshift roster that will be in uniform this year, you need to do all that you can to make sure we win the home games. Every single one.
Jerome Solomon basically accused Rockets fans of being passionless last season. He asserted that the Rockets had one of the worst home atmospheres in the entire NBA. That includes virtual bingo parlors such as the Izod Arena in New Jersey, and the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Solomon shoved the Toyota Center into the cellar, and while it made me cry inside, I had to accept the fact that it was all true.
If you went to a home game during the regular season, you know what I'm talking about. Rockets fans treated games like musicals. They sat and watched in silence for the majority of the show, and if there was an eventful moment that required some sort of applause, they clapped apathetically in between yawns.
But we were talented enough to survive, except for the Washington game. Or the Indiana game. Or the Clippers game. Okay, so maybe we didn't survive as blissfully as we should have.
Apathy, indifference, and silence will kill us this season. It will absolutely kill us.
Home court advantage means more to these Rockets than it does for any other team. Our guys feed off adrenaline like the Toon Squad reacted to a sip of Michael's Secret Stuff.
None of those major wins against L.A. came on the road. Instead, we got crushed. Our play was substantially better at Toyota Center versus Staples Center. It wasn't just your normal home court advantage; the cheering from our fans rattled the normally dominant-when-in-Houston Lakers (as much as a championship team could be rattled), and it made guys like Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks turn into (almost) lethal scorers. It wasn't just hustle that elevated our performances in those two stunning victories - it was the overwhelming amount of confidence and adrenaline that our suddenly outrageous fans produced.
When our boys traveled to Los Angeles, they were without the support that they relished so much in Houston. It was like watching a kid struggle during his first week of college. The Rockets looked helpless and hopeless. They didn't know what to do. They were waiting for that sense of confidence to come back to them from an outside source. All they got was an obnoxious, demeaning croak from Jack Nicholson.
You may think I'm overrating the value of home support. You may think these players are hollow, that they are like video game characters, in that their performances are solely based on talent. But that's simply not the case.
As corny, cliched, and syrupy as it sounds, you can make a difference next year. You have to.