Your home is a literal shelter. It should be a safe haven from the cruelties of the outside world, a place that brings you peace and comfort, a place filled with people that accepts you for who you are and will support you through all times, the good and the bad. Home is, according to one of the definitions in the Random House Dictionary that is falling apart in one of the cabinets at my workplace says that a home is a place of refuge, which is defined as a shelter from danger, or trouble, so that, at its essence, is what a home should be, so it’s reasonable to expect that the home court of a basketball franchise would also serve as a place of refuge for all of the home town players, but last night, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When Chandler Parsons came into the game last night and missed two consecutive free throws, his first two attempts of the season, which was met with a smattering of boos throughout the FedEx Forum, the home court of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Last summer, the Grizzlies signed Parsons, to a four year, ninety-four million dollar deal, which was in retrospect, a mistake on the part of Memphis. Even when the deal was signed it seemed like we were risking so much for the very slim possibility that Parsons would be the player he was before all of his knee injuries. We got screwed, but that’s not on Chandler, it’s not like he’s going out there trying to play poorly, but he just didn’t look that good and seemed to hurt the team more than help us when he was out on the floor, so he ended his season early and had another surgery, hoping that by doing so he would have enough time to rehab and get back into basketball shape before the next season began, because like it or not, he’s still under contract for three more years. I will admit, last year there were times when I was upset and even took to Twitter on occasion to voice my displeasure, but by the end of the year I decided to let go of the resentment I was feeling, because it wasn’t Chandler’s fault that the Grizzlies had spent so much money on him, and also because I realized that nothing good would come from my negative feelings, so since that time, I’ve tried to be optimistic, hoping for the best out of Parsons and looking forward to the time when he would be a big time contributor to the team and prove all of the haters wrong. I hoped it might be this year, but his preseason play left a lot to be desired, but still I remained hopeful going into the season.
When it was announced earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup and would instead be coming off the bench, I was annoyed. Since we gave up Z-bo and Tony Allen this offseason, it was sad, but it seemed like we were moving into playing a new style of basketball, one where Chandler Parsons would be counted on to step his game up if we wanted to continue having success and make it to the playoffs. We were relying on Chandler to be one of our top scorers, so it only makes sense that it would be in the starting rotation and getting a lot of playing time, but the coach decided to have him come off the bench, so there was nothing to do but accept it, move on, and hope that he would have great success in the role, which is exactly how I was feeling last night when he came onto the court in the first game of the season, hoping for the best, but then he missed those two free throws, and some fans, fans of the team he was playing for, started booing at him. I was upset, not because he missed the free throws but because fans of the team I support, people who live in the same community as me were being so disrespectful to one of our own. I get it that you might be upset that he is being paid so much money and isn’t producing results that are up to your preconceived standards but to yell “booooo” at the man that is on your team, the man that has been training and working hard to help your team, is not only classless but absolutely ridiculous.
We are supposed to be the city that rallies around and embraces our players. The city is one with the team and the team is one with the city, in this together, working hard and grinding, on and off the court, so to ridicule one of our own, at home, booing him for missing free throws, just isn’t what we’re about. We need to lift up the players who are struggling, encouraging them and cheering for them through thick and thin instead of what too many people are doing with Chandler and looking for reasons to dislike the guy. For the record there were a lot of people at the game standing up and cheering for him after the boos started, doing what needed to be done and showing Parsons that we as a fan base were behind him, but it’s just frustrating that there are people out there, who claim to be fans of the Grizzlies, that would treat one of our players that way. I’m still holding out hope that Chandler will start playing at a higher level, but I think that’s a lot less likely to happen if there are fans in the stadium on our home court audibly ridiculing his every mistake while he’s just out there trying his best to be the player everybody, including himself, wants him to be. Maybe we can set aside how we feel individually about Chandler and come together in spirit of unity rather than one of division and support the effort that he is making, and hold onto the hope that it will eventually pay off. It’s a lot more fun being optimistic than it is looking for things to be upset about; I’ve lived both ways, so trust me, I know.