Do you know what is most annoying about clichés? They’re usually true. Even though I’ve heard them countless times before, I have to admit they are good things to hear and even better things to do.

It’s a long way to #1. 

(NBAE Photos)

When the Suns lost their home opener to the Lakers, some clichés came to mind:

  • Take things one day at a time.
  • Don’t get ahead of yourself.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • See the big picture.

Blah, blah, blah… boring, right? Well, maybe, but not when you see the big picture…

Back in October, the news team set up a base of operations in Tucson, AZ to cover training camp. It was my first time in Tucson and I didn’t have one of those handy satellite navigation things that talk to you. I don’t know if I could handle that all the time – I don’t want some computer with a British accent telling me what to do. Anyway, the point is that I didn’t know where I was going.

As I drove north on a busy city street, I noticed the traffic getting lighter. Then buildings were replaced by rocks and trees. Eventually the road narrowed to two lanes winding through the landscape complete with bumps, blind curves, and the occasional furry creature. I wondered where I’d taken the wrong turn – surely this wasn’t going toward civilization. I thought I heard the faint sounds of a banjo coming from the trees. Although I doubted the directions, I stuck to them and eventually reached the team’s hotel – a beautiful resort overlooking the valley below.

One day the team had the morning off and I had a chance to take in the scenery. I walked to the edge of a small cliff and took in the amazing view. Looking down, I saw cars appear and disappear through the trees as they were making their way toward the hotel. And then it struck me: this is the big picture. I could see the exact same street I was on before, but this time I could see where it was leading. From up on that mountain, I realized the bumps and curves were all necessary to get me to where I was going.

We’re on another road now – toward an NBA Championship. The season is young – the street still busy – but things will lighten up as we get closer. We’ve already seen some bumps in the road (sore knees, big losses, etc) and it’s easy to start doubting the directions – to wonder if we’ve taken a wrong turn. But the clichés are true: Learn from the setbacks, take each day at a time, and remember the big picture. When we’ve reached the mountaintop, we’ll be thankful for all the twists and turns that got us there.

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