How Bastille’s “Pompeii” Relates to the Chicago Bulls


Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The thought occurred to me in the middle of the night. It was early in the morning on Tuesday. I’m one of those people who randomly thinks of song lyrics at random points of the day. This time, it happened to be “Pompeii” by Bastille that popped into my mind. I began going over some of the lyrics in my head.

"But if you close your eyes,Does it almost feel likeNothing changed at all?And if you close your eyes,Does it almost feel likeYou’ve been here before?How am I gonna be an optimist about this?How am I gonna be an optimist about this?"

While going over those lines, I simultaneously thought how well those words described my feelings about Derrick Rose’s torn meniscus. Rose is out with another knee injury leaving the Chicago Bulls without their star player. Not too long ago, this was where the Bulls were. Bulls fans were trying to get over a Rose-less Bulls lineup. It does feel like before because we were all just in this position. It’s difficult to feel optimistic in a situation like this. Then I realized the prior verse relates to this as well.

"And the walls kept tumbling downIn the city that we loveGreat clouds roll over the hillsBringing darkness from above"

Since Tom Thibodeau took over as head coach, the Bulls have been one of the biggest threats in the NBA, but something always got in the way. In his first year, Chicago was unable to overcome the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. The following season, Rose tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the first round of the playoffs, and the Bulls took a beating after that. Rose sat out the entire season after that, and a Rose-less team was left to fend for themselves in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the defending champions, the Heat. Those hits to the team were the walls tumbling down in a city whose love for its basketball team is strong. It’s just been a dark time for the Bulls and for us Bulls fans.

This song certainly isn’t about the Bulls and the unfortunate knee injuries to Rose, not at all.  It’s just happens to relate well to them right now. The point is it’s been quite a tragic time for Chicago basketball. There are worse things going on in the world right now. The Philippines was recently hit by a typhoon. Parts of central Illinois were destroyed by tornadoes not too long ago. It’s unfortunate, but those things are going to happen.

When it comes to sports — something many of us use for fun and entertainment or to help us escape from our real lives and struggles — we aren’t ever expecting that kind of tragedy. For Bulls fans specifically, this isn’t the case. In less than two years, we’ve experienced heartbreak twice. The hope we had has quickly plummeted. We got our star back, and he was finally starting to look like his old self again.

Then came Friday, Nov. 22. That night, the Bulls took on the Portland Trail Blazers in their second game of the circus trip. In the third quarter, Rose was seen limping down the court, eventually to be helped walk back to the locker room. He would be out the remainder of the game with a right knee injury.

Following the game, it was made known an MRI would be taken on Saturday. This resulted in anxious Bulls fans waiting for news. The injury turned out to be a torn meniscus, which was a relief to many who were possibly expecting another ACL tear.

Monday marked Rose’s surgery day. No one knew for sure what the timetable for his recovery would be until the surgery was complete. Now, we know the remainder of the season shall be a Rose-less one.

This season was supposed to be one featuring the Bulls as a shoo-in for the playoffs, a potential championship contender. Instead of witnessing that season, we shall witness a season featuring a team trying to find themselves, a team trying to make their way through another year without their leader. The only difference now is this Bulls team wasn’t expecting this. That was for last season. This one was built for Rose.  This isn’t to say that Chicago can no longer be successful. The playoffs are still an expected destination for this team, but it isn’t the same anymore.

So what now? Is this it? Does this mark the end of the Rose-Luol Deng-Carlos Boozer-Joakim Noah core? Will someone be traded? Should we tank? (That answer is no by the way.) Now, we’re just thinking about what do to now that Rose is out. It just feels like we’ve been here before.