Change that none of us can believe

It has been about 26 hours since Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.

Throughout his campaign and his first speech as the POTUS yesterday, Obama touted that he would bring about the kind of change that America needed to get through these tough times. He called it "Change we can believe in."

What we're seeing through the first part of 2009 is quite the opposite.

It's change that none of us can actually believe.

The past five years have in Arizona sports have been dictated by the regular season dominance of the run-and-gun Suns, the utter ineptitude of the Arizona Cardinals, most people forgetting that the Phoenix Coyotes even existed.

Since the turn of the calendar, change has come.

Arizona Cardinals
Not much needs to be explained here; the story has played out before our disbelieving eyes for the past three weeks.

A franchise that could only be described as moribund since their move to Phoenix in 1988, and who stumbled so horribly down the stretch of the 2008 regular season, found their sea legs and are making an improbable trip to Tampa next week to play for a Super Bowl title. It's created a firestorm of media coverage across America as the rest of the country (and frankly, much of the Valley of the Sun) is learning all about how amazing Larry Fitzgerald is, the fact that Kurt Warner is actually still playing football and the celebration exploits of Antonio Smith and Darnell Dockett.

Whoever legitimately saw this coming from the Redbirds, raise your hand.

Put your hand down. You're a liar.

Phoenix Suns
Through the past several seasons, the Phoenix Suns have defined themselves as no better than the 3rd best team in the Western Conference, but it was for no lack of thrills and fun. The Suns regularly put up over 100 points a night and made exciting runs into the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the playoffs. They were lead by a charismatic head coach in Mike D'Antoni and a core of athletic, explosive players.

And before our eyes, it all has collapsed, and the lowest point of all may have come Monday night when, seemingly before you could blink, the Suns were somehow down 30 to the Boston Celtics.

The way this all disintegrated is ridiculous. It's pretty safe to say, 10 months removed from it, that the trade for Shaquille O'Neal hasn't made an enormous difference. Remember when he pointed to his ring finger right after being traded to Phoenix and got a standing ovation?

Still waiting for that ring to show up. If anything, the only thing that has changed for the better (?) is that Suns opponents take more fouls...at least Gregg Popovich and the Spurs do.

Terry Porter was brought in to replace D'Antoni, but the team has clearly regressed and the players clearly don't play with the same energy and passion as they did under their former boss. Now we all have to sit and wonder, as the bad losses and blown double-digit leads pile up, whether these Suns will even make the playoffs this season.

Phoenix Coyotes
The Coyotes find themselves in a completely opposite situation than their NBA counterparts. Since 2003, bad personnel decisions, horrible coaching and a non-existent fan base made this team perform as horribly off the ice as they have on the rink.

Somehow, it has all turned around this year. And after last night's statement 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings last night in Glendale, I'm pretty much convinced that this Coyotes team will end their drought and make the playoffs in 2009.

There's youthful energy throught the roster, Ilya Bryzgalov is back to playing at the top of his game and Wayne Gretzky, whose talents have been called in to question repeatedly by the national media, might actually be coming into his own as a coach. And with the Desert Dogs surging and division rival Anaheim slowly fading, it's high time for the 'Yotes to seize this opportunity.

Like the Cardinals, you're a liar if you said the Coyotes would be the Western Conference's 5th seed going into the All Star Break.

No comments: