Coincidence. (noun) 1. A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.
2015 has not been a good year for Chicago sports. In less than 60 days, we lost Ernie Banks; the Jackie Robinson West Little League scandal broke, stripping a title from the most beloved team the city has had in years; and the bright light of the hiring of John Fox as the Bears' new head coach was dimmed as serious hints continue to emerge that both Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall may not be back. Then came Tuesday night.
And Cleveland fans feel they are jinxed.
What are the chances of two dreams dying in one night? Who gets dealt that hand? That fate? What did we do to upset and agitate the sports gods like that?
So here we are, heads spinning, dealing with a new reality that both Patrick Kane and Derrick Rose will no longer be a part of the championship runs the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls had in store. At least, not for the immediate future.
Early reports say Rose's pending surgery for another meniscus tear will cost him six weeks at best, which would put his return only two weeks before the NBA playoffs begin; and unconfirmed reports say that Kane's injury has been diagnosed as a possible broken collar bone, which would take him off the ice for 6-10 weeks, potentially past the end of the regular season.
The timing could not have been worse, the incidents couldn't have been more cruel. Not even Lemony Snicket could come up with events this simultaneously unfortunate.
Bad Luck. (noun, phrase) 1. An unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable actions.
And at the root of the pain -- or what makes both injuries so hard to digest -- is the post-All-Star break belief that began to resonate around Chicago that both the Hawks and Bulls were about to find their collective rhythms, (finally) find themselves, and be the teams that the city had been waiting to witness all season. The fact that the Bulls were only 6-4 in their last 10 games and third in the Eastern Conference was as meaningless as the Blackhawks' 5-2-3 record in their last 10 games and third-place spot in the Central Division. The feeling from Finn McCool's to the 50 Yard Line and all spots in between was that both teams were just waiting for this moment, this time of the season, to establish themselves. To let their respective leagues know.
Now we all know.
We know that the hard truth is that we can ("might have to" is a less harsh way of putting it) do what the Bulls and the Blackhawks can't: Move on to next season. Yes, the Blackhawks lost Kane to an injury last season 12 games before the playoffs and he came back. Yes, the Bulls have been without Rose for over two years and have watched him return to something more than a shell of himself. But in this moment, these injuries seem to be much greater than the sums of both teams' parts and greater hurdles than ones either team has had to deal with in the past.
The Blackhawks' nemesis and the NHL's defending champs, the Los Angeles Kings, appear to just be hitting their stride, winning eight straight. The Bulls' old/new nemesis, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, are also hitting theirs, winning 17 of their last 19. So even with a healthy Rose and Kane, the Bulls and Hawks -- with the inconsistently consistent way they'd both been playing recently -- were going to have difficulty copping the crown. Now any lingering optimism has been shaded by impossibility.
For Kane, there's an immediate finality to the season if the pending news out of Blackhawks camp later today is as grim as expected. For Rose and the Bulls, there's just finality.
There's only so much one's cognitive capacity can take. There's only so much optimism left to hold on to.
It's as if Chicago had its own Mayan prophecy, and Feb. 24, 2015, was the city's doomsday.
Murphy's Law. (axiom, a pessimistic postulate, law) 1. An adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong, will.
But these are just feelings, right? This is just an overreaction to a duality of news that just happened to hit us all at once, right? Hell, if Chuy Garcia could force Rahm Emanuel into a Chicago mayoral runoff on the same Tuesday night, anything is possible. Right?
Wrong. This is now our truth. And as well as both the Hawks and Bulls will play for the rest of their runs, winning either Lord Stanley's Cup or a Larry O'Brien Trophy without Kane or Rose, or without either of them being close to 100 percent, is a lie that we don't necessarily need to begin to believe.