Mad Dog Diary #13

As I write this the chances of us making the playoffs are pretty bleak. I can tell you that I am personally quite disappointed. Every player, coach and front office staffer, up to owner Glen Taylor is very upset about the way this season has gone thus far. Trying to put a finger on what exactly went wrong is hard to do. Unfortunately, we as players are responsible in the end for getting the job done on the court, and we didn’t. It cost a coach his job and it cost the fans and us a playoff appearance. I certainly can understand the frustration coming from our fans. So we are going to keep the hope alive, as we’re not out of it yet. The chances are slim, but we are going to fight and try to find a way to make it in. That’s what we’re still hoping for.

After our loss to Atlanta, Kevin McHale came in and really gave it to us. A coach has to be able to get on people at times, and we as players need to have thick skin and be responsive. Coach was upset that we weren’t passing the ball and we were playing selfish basketball. He told us two things about passing the ball and being unselfish that hit home. The first one came from the legendary University of Minnesota hockey coach Herb Brooks who told him, “Passes don’t come from the hands, they come from the heart.” Then he told us something his high school coach used to say, “If you have to think about passing the ball, then something is wrong.” He reminded us how we grew up playing the game—for fun and for pride in trying to kick someone’s tail every time you stepped onto the court. The thing about him is that he’s a basketball purist and when the effort and unselfishness isn’t there (on offense and defense) he’s very upset. I also think it legitimately hurts him to see the game played the wrong way. The truth is that everyone on the team can be unselfish and give great energy. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that fact. I know we will bounce back in a decisive fashion.

Now that I can’t really work out as much, I have been doing a lot of walking around the lakes in Minneapolis and in the western suburbs. I am really trying to get out with friends and enjoy nature and take in the sun. Maybe get a little Vitamin D back into the system after a long winter. Minnesota is a great state, and particularly attractive if you enjoy the outdoors. Maybe this summer I will be lucky enough to get out on a boat and do some tubing. I have heard so many good things about Lake Minnetonka, maybe I will hang out there a little bit and soak up some rays and enjoy one of the 10,000 lakes.

Every once in a while when I’m walking around people will recognize me and say hello. They have all been very supportive. I had a few people come up during a recent walk and wish myself and the team the very best. They reached out on a personal note to ask me about my surgery and wish me well in the recovery process. They were hoping that I can recover on all levels and it was very much appreciated.

I am fortunate as part of this organization to be able to work with Dan Zeman, who is a local exercise physiologist. He used to work with Greg LeMond and has been talking to me about cardiovascular conditioning. When I combine his expertise and knowledge with that of Wolves’ strength coach Thomas McKinney, they offer up quite a source of knowledge. I hope to build on conditioning and hopefully be stronger when I return from my surgery. I look forward to writing again next week. Thanks, Mark.

Thanks, Mark