Friday, November 17, 2006


I was about six feet tall by the time was 12 (I'll check with my mom, but that sounds about right), so naturally I played a lot of basketball as a kid. My dad, being a physical education teacher and a coach for both high school football and baseball, probably thought I was a shoe-in to be good at some sport. Though I was a clumsy and slow catcher/first baseman back in my prepubescent youth athletic league days, I was a formidable force in basketball. Okay, that might be overstating it, but at least I was the tallest guy out there and could rack up rebounds and points just by accident. But for some reason, unlike everyone else puberty actually decreased my athletic prowess, and even though I was 6'4" and relatively in shape the rest of the kids blew right by me. Maybe they "wanted it more", maybe I could say I was "concentrating on my studies", but it was pretty pathetic. Tired of riding the pine for the basketball team (Coach Sherman, if you're out there, you're still an asshole) I quit and decided to play tennis my senior year. I proved unequivocally that I could suck at that sport too (I've since branched out to suck and hockey as well).

To this day, I get asked if I played basketball, and I'm embarrassed when I say that I'm horrible at it, can't remember the last time I played, and don't even own a basketball. I always wonder what might have happened if I didn't have a NEGATIVE vertical leap and could actually play. Tonight, my alma mater Villanova plays in the Paradise Jam basketball tournament in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands . . . are you kidding me? Man, that would be great to play ball in the Caribbean. I always stayed up late to watch the Maui Invitiational every November, thinking how awesome those all-expenses paid trips would have been (well, provided I paid my tuition), if only I didn't stink at basketball and actually made the team. Oh well.

NCAA college basketball is back, but I can't get too excited about yet. I don't even know how you determine a preseason Top 25; after the first dozen or so you're pretty just making shit up or just picking schools because of reputation alone (Creighton?). I can't figure out if "upsets" like Vermont beating B.C. and Oral Roberts beating perennial bracket-killer Kansas are even a big deal because it's so early, and all of those teams have been in the NCAA tournament in recent years. But I've found more evidence that ESPN hates sports fans: they've already got a tournament bracket(ology) on their website. Are you joking? Whew, that's a relief that Villanova got a #7 seed, I wasn't sure they'd get in! Plus, Dan Shanoff has chosen his Final Four and Champion already. Ugh. Slow down, idiots, we've got a long way to go. At least wait until March to make your horribly incorrect picks.

(I know, that wasn't really a preview of anything. I'll check back in January.)

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