Saturday, July 09, 2005


Someone out there loves me. A couple months back, in anticipation of the release of the new Hoosiers Special Edition DVD release, I alluded to the fact that my life would pretty much be complete with two more basketball DVD releases: Hoop Dreams (which has since been released and is more phenomenal than I could have imagined) and every episode of The White Shadow. While I knew that Hoop Dreams was coming, as my earlier post noted, I doubted that The White Shadow would ever get DVD treatment unless I gained some clout in the entertainment industry. Well, I'm still not the president of Criterion or anything, but I'm happy to see that someone out there is listening to me. So today's good news is:

Season 1 of The White Shadow is anticipated to be coming to DVD!

(A quick aside: so far this year I've wished for the ability to purchase a Kevin Pittsnogle jersey and DVDs of The White Shadow. Both were mildly far-fetched ideas, and both have become reality. Clearly someone out there is listening to me, so I'd like to take this opportunity to request that someone open up a Jamba Juice in Milwaukee. Preferably near the new office that I'm moving to in a couple months, but I won't quibble with anywhere in the greater metro area. I'm good for a mimimum of 40 Peenya Kowlada Smoothies per year. Thanks in advance.)

Getting back to The White Shadow, though, my love of this show is well documented. Though I was roughly 3 years old when the show was still airing as a first-run program, I recall watching it regularly and asking my mother why the program was called "The White Shadow" when the coach and two players were the only white people on the show. I may have been able to cross-index the entire 1981 Milwaukee Brewers roster by number in my head at the age of 3, but I apparently didn't quite understand the concept of the metaphor yet.

I didn't see the show until years later when I was in high school. For awhile I actually believed that I had simply dreamt up the bizarre show. All I could remember was the aforementioned issue that I had with the name of the show, and a character that went by the name of "Salami." This seemed far-fetched enough to be the figment of a 3-year-old's imagination, so I dismissed it as such--until The White Shadow showed up on Nick at Nite. The only problem was that the show was always on a weekend during prime social hours. Since I was in high school, I was generally too busy cruising around or smoking cigars and trying to look cool to watch The Shadow, but at least I knew it existed. And that was a small victory which I could build on later.

My most recent experience with The White Shadow is the way in which most people these days know about it--its morning airings that were on ESPN Classic every day a few years back. This is really the first time I had the chance to see the show, other than my initial viewings when I was 3. I was in my first year of law school when the show started up, and I would pop in a tape to record the show every day before I left for class. Watching the tape when I got home at the end of the day was one of my few joys that I had in my most intense year of studying ever (side note to anyone considering law school--year #1 is rough, but thereafter, it's not nearly as painful). So in a small way, The White Shadow helped get me through law school (though a greater credit probably goes to local musician/comedian Pat McCurdy, and the makers of Wild Turkey.).

I still have those tapes today, but will gladly toss them to the curb when the boys from Carver come out in full digital glory. However presented, though, the wisdom of coach Ken Howard is timeless.

And with that, I'll leave you with a paraphrase of my favorite White Shadow quote, from the episode where a gay basketball player transfers to Carver High. As coach Howard sits the boys down to address the situation, which has boiled over and become a severe issue, he opens with the words (or something remarkably similar):

"There aren't a lot of people in the world that know less about homosexuality than me, but you guys are 12 of those people."

Thanks for the heads-up, coach, and I'll see you when your discs are released.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Dawn of a New Era

This past weekend, a new, glorious era began in my household. On Friday night, armed with some newfound nerve and a 10% off coupon, I drove to my local Best Buy with one goal in mind: purchasing an HDTV. My months of number crunching and watching prices drop would finally pay off. From this weekend forward, I would watch my basketball (and all other sports, for that matter) in all its high definition glory. It was a step not to be taken lightly.

Indeed, while I ultimately succeeded in my purchase of the television on Friday evening, during my drive to my favorite electronics retail outlet I was unsure of what would transpire. Would I, in the face of making a large appliance purchase, back down and make a more prudent choice like, say, socking money away so that I could someday purchase a house? Apprehension filled my mind as I pulled into the parking lot and prepared to enter the store and make perhaps the seminal purchase of my life to this point. As I approached the doors of Best Buy, I was about to embark on an internal debate of epic proportions. There was still time to turn back, and my mind knew it.

That epic debate, however, never happened. It was preempted by forces of the world that I cannot explain. As I walked up to the door of that Best Buy, you see, a player for the Wisconsin Badgers, my favorite college basketball team, walked out the door. This had to be fate. Here I am, a frightened consumer, unsure of whether I should spend my hard-earned money on a device which I would be purchasing primarily to enhance my college basketball watching experience four months from now. At the same time, a potential starter for my favorite school, which is located just over an hour away in Madison, walks out the door of the Milwaukee-area store that I am at, unknowingly reminding me why I want to make the purchase. It was as if some higher power was looking down on me and saying “Just buy the damn TV—you’ll see this guy on it in November.” And who am I to argue with this logic? I bought the TV.

To my surprise, I was able to arrange delivery just two days later. Admittedly, the true power of my new purchase will not truly be felt until November (though until then, football will provide an adequate diversion). However, as I learned this weekend, you don’t mess with fate. And fate was telling me that the purchase needed to be made right away. If there was any lingering doubt, even after the Best Buy entry moment, it was dispelled on Sunday night. After spending hours during the day unable to correctly connect my new cable box to the television, I went to bed frustrated. During the night, I had a dream in which I connected the television perfectly. Upon awakening, I went to the television and did as I had in the dream. The connections that I had dreamt worked, proving again to me that some outside force wants me to enjoy this purchase. Either that, or my subconscious is really good with AV equipment.

And so, while we’re still just over 4 months away from real basketball, I’m prepared. Come November, I’m ready for basketball as it was meant to be watched: in high definition, while drinking a beer from a beer dispensing soda machine. I see very few ways in which life could get any sweeter.

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