YOU'RE NOT SURE what to think of it, but you know you're suffering from giant mood swings lately. You tend toward histrionics and overreaction, and you're hitting the boos hard lately. You think you might be a little on edge, especially after you tossed the potted pansy and your wife's poodle through the TV.
You suspect that you are, well, possibly a little whiny, and that hurts.You're a Jazz fan, right? The doctor will see you now. Sit over there. Not in the trash can; the chair. There. Reee-lax. You ARE a wreck, aren't you?
Spring is not easy this time of year for you, with the playoffs in bloom. Especially this playoffs. It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the Jazz, and it's put you out of sorts. Your marriage is suffering. Your job is suffering. You are suffering.
You spend too much time at the water cooler discussing John's back. You worry about Karl's injured middle finger, because how can he possibly shoot without it and, more importantly, how can he drive on the interstate without a middle digit?
You're absent-minded and preoccupied. You forgot to water the yard - or was it feed the kids? Oh, well. You suffered a cardiac infarction after Game 3 in Houston. You're not sure what that is, but it can't be good, infarcting and all.
Now another playoff series is about to begin today with the dreaded Lakers. The stakes get higher. So does your heart rate. Can you take another round?
You need a plan. A game plan. A strategy for handling the playoffs, so you know what to expect this time around - how to react, when to react and what to avoid. It's good to be prepared.
Jazz win Game 1: Go ahead, be happy . . . but tone it down. No gloating yet. As Karl says (it's "Karl" to us, right?), you can't ever be happy with yourself in this business. If the Jazz win by fewer than, say, six points, you'll tend to worry. What's wrong?!, you'll whine. Don't go there.
Jazz lose Game 1: Last time this happened, the state shut down. Panic set in. People called in sick. There's no need to do anything drastic, such as call a talk show. Keep your head. There's not time to panic - but it's close. Remember, losing at home is a possibility for which you must be prepared.
Jazz are whistled for a foul: WARNING - There might be times - might - when the Jazz are whistled for a foul - and they actually did commit a foul. I know it sounds farfetched, but, hey, it happens. The point is, don't get overly worked up over every call. You don't want to infarct, do you? Learn to be selective with your boos. Pick your spots.
Jazz win Games 1 and 2: OK, go ahead, smile a little, but not for long. You don't see Jer smiling, do you? No, the Jazz are supposed to win at home. They simply held serve.
Jazz win first two home games and split on the road: Time for the Airport Thing. Meet the team at some ridiculous hour. The series is in the bag. Don't take it one game at a time; go ahead, look ahead; it's over. Book a room in Chicago.
Woofing and elbows and other extracurricular activities: Remember, this is not a friendly rivalry. Be prepared. This is a blood match. Stuff happens. Don't expect love to break out on the court. Don't expect a group hug. It's the punks vs. the thirty-something crowd. Two teams with chips on their shoulders. They're bringing enough emotional baggage to fill a 747. Expect an "incident." When it happens, whine away. Remember, you have a reputation to uphold. Don't let us down.
Jazz lose first two games: It's official. It's time to panic. The Titantic is taking on water. Time to plan your summer vacation. Time to call a talk show. Time to question Jerry's substitution pattern and Karl's predilection for 18-foot fadeaway jump shots and Greg Ostertag's trade value and the State of John.
Karl misses a free throw: It'll happen. Remember, the important thing is to keep breathing.
Jazz fall behind by 20 points: My advice - eat something.
Jazz win first two games at home, but drop Game 3, by a ton: No big deal. You've been there, done that. The reaction to the loss in San Antonio turned out to be much ado about nothing, didn't it? Don't worry. Don't chuck the poodle. Losing Game 3 is as routine as the National Anthem.
Jazz win first two games at home, but drop Games 3 and 4: OK, worry. This is not a good sign. It's now a three-game series and anything can happen.
Shaquille O'Neal travels and/or knocks Greg Foster into photo row en route to a dunk: It'll happen. Guaranteed. When it does, take a deep breath - and boo. Make your point. Hold up your signs. It won't make any difference whatsoever. But you'll feel better, and isn't that the point?