Expectations are a funny thing.
When they are met, oftentimes, there is still an indelible sense of what could have been – no matter the outcome.
For example, if I told you before the 2017 WNBA season that the Connecticut Sun would win 21 games, host a home playoff game, boast the WNBA Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year and Most Improved Player, there is a good chance you would’ve looked at me like I was crazy.
But it happened.
And, man, it was awesome.
That’s the thing about expectations, though – they change as the results change. You make new decisions based on new facts. And while the single-elimination home playoff loss to the Mercury feels like a punch in the gut right now, the fact is the Sun’s future has never been brighter.
“We lost, but I feel like we won at the same time,” Curt Miller said after the game. “I feel like we’re starting something very, very special here. This year is only the beginning.”
It might sound cliché, but Miller has a way of articulating things so well that you can’t help but feel comforted and reassured.
And he’s absolutely right; there is something unbelievably special being built here.
You can truly see how much a team loved playing with each other after their season comes to an end. If players are smiling, joking and there seems to be a palpable sense of relief, chances are the chemistry was never quite right and moving on is best for everyone.
That couldn’t be further from the truth with this Sun team.
Many tears were shed from the top of the organization down, and there wasn’t a single person who wanted this unprecedented run to end. After all, when the WNBA season comes to a halt, there really is only one team who is satisfied and content: the champions.
“I don’t even know where to start,” Courtney Williams wrote on her Instagram account. “What an amazing second year. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but I wouldn’t want to go through this season with any other group of people. I love this team; [we] built some bonds that I know will last a lifetime.”
The Sun completely obliterated any and all expectations (there’s that word again), and doing so has already inspired confidence within each player, each coach, the fans and the entire organization.
It’s been said that you either win, or you learn.
Whether you believe that sentiment is true or not, we do know it is impossible to predict the future. However, if these tough, humbling lessons lead to a WNBA championship they’ll have all been worth it.
The best part? This season taught us the Sun is closer than we all thought.
And that’s pretty darn special.