Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Shameful Admission, And Other Thoughts

I haven’t issued a formal announcement until now, but I think it’s pretty clear from my erratic updating over the last few weeks that I no longer have the time or drive to make this site a daily endeavor. I’d like to blame it on being thrown off track by Blogger locking me out two weeks ago, but the truth is that I haven’t brought my "A" game all year. My available time for writing is all but gone, I’ve been to something like one UWM home game this year, and I can count on one hand the number of high school games that I’ve seen. The shift in the way that I use my time really hit home last night when UWM-Wright State was on TV at 6pm, and Texas-Texas A&M was on at 8pm. It occurred to me that last year, this lineup would have meant me parking myself in my living room the second that I got home from work and not getting up until the final buzzer of the second game (after which I might have even watched some of the late Gonzaga game). This year, I caught a snippet of the UWM game, and just the first half of the Texas-Texas A&M game, choosing to allocate most of my evening hours in more productive ways (that still seem sort of incomprehensible to me). The life span of an obsessive basketball junkie is a short one.

But that’s not to say I’m throwing in the towel totally. I’m still out there watching games, and noticing the incredible (and intensely stupid) things that go on during them. Just this past weekend I attended two games and watched three more on TV. I just don’t have time to ponder them as much. I don’t want to go away totally, though. Every day updates are officially, as of today, a thing of the past for me, but I’m committed to still sharing thoughts at least twice a week. And today’s one of those days, so let’s get to thoughts where I don’t whine on and on about how little time I have to immerse myself in basketball for a third straight year:

1) I can’t say that I’m too enthralled by ESPN’s "Rivalry Week" offerings this week. If I’m not mistaken (and I often am), aside from last night’s Texas-Texas A&M offering, tomorrow’s Duke-North Carolina matchup is the only other "rivalry" game between two ranked teams. LSU-Tennessee tonight also has the potential to be entertaining. But while Ohio State and Michigan are undoubtedly rivals, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to see them clash tonight (which probably means that they’ll play a triple-overtime thriller just to spite me).

2) Texas A&M has one of the uglier courts that I’ve ever seen. The two shades of parquet, including the huge outline of the state of Texas in the darker shade, is just sort of ridiculous. The feeling that I got looking at that court is the same feeling that I get when I walk into the bathroom in my basement and wonder "Who decided that it would be a good idea to use this much wood paneling?" Indeed, Texas A&M’s court is the outdated basement rec room of basketball courts.

3) The first half of the Texas-Texas A&M game that I saw last night marked the third time that I’ve taken time out of my day to watch Kevin Durant. If you’ve only heard the hype and not seen the him play, I urge you to mark your calendar the next time Texas is on TV. The guy is awe-inspiring. I realized last night why I find him so fun to watch–he plays with the demeanor of an NBA player. The NBA tends to frustrate me, largely because during most of the regular season, you see guys nonchalantly knocking down jump shots and generally looking almost uninterested as they perform astounding basketball tasks. While it’s annoying to watch 10 uber-talented guys look like they’re sleep-walking through a game because their skills are so well honed, seeing one guy do the same thing in the midst of a floor full of college kids who are exerting all their energy on every play is just impressive. Durant’s on another level from his peers, and he knows it.

4) While fun to watch, I can’t help but believe that the Texas-Texas A&M game would have been even more interesting had either team decided at some point that it might be a good idea to stop their opponent from cutting down the lane for barely contested layups. I know this is a complex point, but for the first five minutes of the game, it looked like each team was running Grinnell College’s defense.

5) Of the many points that I missed from the weekend, one needs to be revisited–Dwyane Wade’s jeresey retirement at Saturday’s Marquette game was awesome. Even a guy like me, who’s Golden Eagle fan commitment is no more than 75%, due to an underlying dislike of Marquette necessitated by my Wisconsin allegiance, can’t help but commit 100% to liking Wade. He’s a great basketball player, appears to be a great guy, and as he proved on Saturday, he’s one heck of a great dresser. I know there’s probably a small group of people out there who are unsettled because Wade’s jersey is being retired without him completing his college degree. Normally, I would agree with this sentiment, but I think an exemption may be in order when the player in question is a guy whose name would come up if you were arguing who the best current basketball player on the planet is. So I’m happy to see #3 in the rafters (even if the Wade figurines that were handed out at the game were pretty dumb-looking).

Back later this week with more thoughts. Frankly, I’m not sure how I’m going to squeeze in games by Marquette, Wisconsin and Duke-UNC on Wednesday night. But maybe old Chris will resurrect himself for one night and 6 hours of basketball...


At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Just wanted to voice some support for your work here. Even if you're cutting back a bit, I'll keep reading. I can't imagine how you had time to do as much as you did. I'm on the Wisconsin bandwagon big time this year, and I'm hungrily searching for anything on them I can find. So I appreciate this site. Hang in there and enjoy this season, for Badgers fans, it's a special one!

At 3:25 PM, Blogger SA said...

So, you're telling me the Gonzaga-Loyola non-rivalry game for "Rivalry Week" wasn't really cut out to be hyped as part of "Rivalry Week?"

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll add a "me, too!" to what SW said. Chris, your insights and humor are a great gift, however frequently or infrequently we get them. If you want/need more time offline to savor the Badgers' great run this year and/or to have a real life, no one begrudges you. All the best.


At 7:43 PM, Blogger Dick McD said...

chris - ditto SW's comments, don't forget Milw.Messmer vs Glenbard West at 4pm Saturday:)...your work is appreciated and enjoyed.
dick mcd

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog this season, but have truly enjoyed the content. We appreciate the efforts. Here's to hoping you find that spark, no matter how infrequent.


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