Surprises are certainly a big part, and one of the best parts, of sports. After all, if we always knew who was going to win — and lose — what would be the fun in watching?
The BYU football team's struggles and sputtering offense this season? Wow, what a surprise that's been! The Utah State football program's continued failure to figure things out and turn the corner? Surprising and, more than that, very disappointing.
Brett Favre sending smutty photos of himself to a hottie half his age? Pretty darned shocking and disgusting.
Audrina Patridge getting booted off "Dancing with the Stars?" Absolutely stunning (And so, by the way, is she.)
And what, you might ask, does that last one have to do with sports? Well, pretty much nothing, other than two former pro athletes — the NFL's Kurt Warner and the NBA's Rick Fox — are still dancin' away on one of America's most popular TV shows, whose past champions include former football superstar Emmitt Smith, Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson and Apolo Anton Ohno, and Indy-car driver Helio Castroneves.
So then, by a show of hands, how many Jazz fans are surprised by the team's 0-2 start? Yeah, me too.
It's not so much that they lost their first two games of the 2010-11 season, but the demoralizing way they lost them that's alarming. A 22-point blowout in their season-opener at Denver was followed by an ugly 16-point loss at home against Phoenix.
If nothing else, we've learned this much: the preseason means absolutely nothing, Zippo. Zilch. Nada.
How else would you explain a spotless 8-0 exhibition mark — the best in franchise history — which included a pair of victories on the West Coast over the defending NBA champion L.A. Lakers, followed by back-to-back, double-digit defeats to start the regular season?
Doesn't make much sense, does it? Well, it does if you totally discount that deceiving preseason slate. But, unfortunately, many fans were lured in by Utah's perfect preseason, and some prognosticators quickly jumped on the Jazz bandwagon as well.
Yes, it momentarily appeared that the Jazz were headed for greatness.
Now we know that those eight exhibition wins and $10 might buy you a beer and some nachos at EnergySolutions Arena. Anything beyond that is likely going to cost you a lot more.
Of course, many Jazz fans are already ready to push the panic button. Deron Williams is snapping at rookie Gordon Hayward for forgetting a play, Al Jefferson is not the second coming of Karl Malone after all, Andrei Kirilenko certainly isn't playing like he's in a contract year.
And yes, the sky is falling.
Sit back, folks, and take a deep breath. There are still 80 regular-season games remaining, beginning with a tough test tonight at Oklahoma City. Shoot, the Jazz might very well lose that one, too, and start the season 0-3 — yikes! That's a frightening thought, just in time for Halloween night.
Relax. Jerry Sloan and his staff will get this thing straightened out. Like Dwyane Wade said after the Miami Heat lost their season-opener — yes, the seemingly invincible Heat and their All-Star trio lost their first game, too — it's not like they were gonna go 82-0 this season.
Same certainly holds true for the Jazz.
So don't start freaking out, folks. Keep the faith. I'm sure they'll get things squared away and turn in another solid season of 50 or more wins. Much like Mark Twain, rumors of the Jazz's death have been greatly exaggerated.
There's a long, long way to go yet, so don't panic until April, when your team is sitting five games out of the playoffs with six games to go.
At that point, you have every right to feel like a BYU/Utah State/Favre fan and shake your head in disappointment. Because that'll mean that the stunning early season surprise has sadly turned into reality.
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