stars and planets realign
Those of you who are sports-repellent may find relief that this may be my last NCAA basketball-related post until autumn, but I can't let the night go by without relishing in the special schadenfreude that is Duke University losing. I absolutely loathe seeing them play, so I've managed to miss every dook game except the ones where they play us - and tonight was no exception.
It wasn't until my curiosity got the best of me when I began downloading the score on my Treo with about five minutes left in the game. Tessa and I were in a Mexican restaurant on Pico, and instead of eating, I was hitting the 'refresh' button over and over while giving her updates. I swear to god, there's no better way to experience a dook loss. All of the ill will without actually having to see their players.
Much will be made of J.J. Redick's horrendous performance in this (and, for that matter every) tournament of his career, and I know a few die-hard Tar Heels who even expressed a tiny bit of pity when he fought back tears on the bench. I'm no alabaster-hearted monster, but fuck that. Those were not tears of tragedy, they were tears of "denied entitlement," the same tears cried by every dook player in their last game (Carrawell, Wojo, etc).
Who feels pity for the mid-major seniors playing for teams like Southwest Missouri State, who foul out of their last game, knowing their job prospects lie barely north of service management? Don't shed a tear for Redick; a couple million in the NBA as a four-year journeyman flameout will put the smile right back on his face.
And hats off to LSU, who obviously brought it, and brought it together. I find it immensely satisfying that a school from Louisiana, a state battered by a hurricane and left for dead by our administration, beat Duke University's squad, helmed by an unmitigated jerk who uses Koach K Kourt to raise money for Republicans.
K himself now goes on to coach the Americans in the Olympics, which, as I've said before, is why I'm pulling for Croatia. Unless Antawn Jamison is on the team, and then I'll be torn. Frankly, I don't see the value in K's two coaching edicts:
1. Win at all costs.
2. Fuck you.
He has been happy to throw his kids and his assistant coaches under the bus in order to solidify his draconian empire (see Randolph, S. and Gaudet, P.); he played Redick and Shelden Williams 39 minutes a game this year while sacrificing the careers of his blue-chip bench. I can't imagine why anyone would want to play for that guy, but the Kool-Aid seems to be strong over there in Derm.
Pity? Whatever. Tessa hates it when she sees the glee I take in dook's misfortune, but you know what? They have always stood for everything I stand against. You can't appreciate the singularity of your convictions unless you have an antithesis. The Carolina Way is my faith, and every religion has its Devil.
Posted by Ian Williams at March 23, 2006 11:02 PM
I love that Rat Bastard lost with 40% of the All-American team on his bench. I love that he lost while having the most coveted point guard in the recruiting sweepstakes last year. I love that he lost with the most highly touted big man in last year's recruiting class. Recall that McRoberts was picked to fare better than Hansbrough. I love that he had the unmitigated gall to say, in his post-game press conference, that it was a strain this year since he only had SENIORS and FRESHMAN and that it was especially burdensome for his TWO seniors (j.j. and The Klingon) to have to carry that responsibility.
This poons of a coach has to now live with the fact that his other responsibilities away from basketball probably cost his team and his players (remember, he's a leader of men, don't you know) a reasonable shot at a title that was theirs for the taking. They got the plum seed in the plum region--my backyard--and had the easiest pre-tourney road to the Final Four.
Thing is, the Rat Bastard probably won't care. Now that his legacy is complete, he's content to ride the wake of his own PAST successes.
I got so much joy out of watching the end of last night's game. Like Ian, I cannot stand watching dook unless we play them. But to see their dejected hang dog faces at the end of the game was priceless. Those tears from j.j. were realizing that he's going to be nothing more than a footnote for the rest of his career. Sure, he'll make more than I'll ever make with the stroke of a pen this summer, but he'll never again get three screens set for him to make his shot. And, as a #2 shooting guard, he's got to deal with players much smarter, much taller and much more athletic than him for the rest of his short career.
That's why j.j. was crying.
Geaux Bayou Bengals
Interesting how Rat Bastard pulled j.j. and The Klingon with 9 seconds left in the game and said in his post-game press conference how it was a no-brainer, being down 5 points.
Yet, earlier this year at the end of a regular season game at FSU, he pitched a bitch with officials when his team was in a similar position, even though the end result was a foregone conclusion.
That hypocritical fuck.
Yet another grin-inspiring anecdote a la, "How I Heard About Duke's Ignominious Loss Last Night":
Around 9:35 pm I'm returning from an evening on the road interviewing jurors in Randolph County NC. On the way through Carrboro I zap into the Citgo for beer. The woman behind the counter, a sighing, prematurely gray local who works the evening shift, is unusually bright and chipper, greeting me with a full eye-crinkling smile. I think, "Can she be that happy to see me? I was just here two days ago..." I ask how her night's going. She beams again, "Oh, I'm having a great night!" She pauses for effect, then continues: "It's always a great night when Duke loses!!"
I practically dance back to the car, where my Mulduresque partner, a recent transplant from Chicago, has been waiting. It hasn't taken him long to catch on to the Tar Heel Way... "Guess whaaaaat?" I sing impishly. "What?" he replies in his pragmatic way, probably thinking (with exasperation) that I've seen a cute guy in the store. "DUKE...LOST!" His face instantly breaks into a sun-through-the-clouds smile: "They LOST??" He sounds as if he can't believe it. "They're OUT of the tournament!" I trumpet, pulling onto Main Street with a zestful confidence. With Chicagoan understatement, he murmurs, "Oh my gahd." Then, like a true born and bred Tar Heel, he says, "I've been waiting for this!"
We were in the middle of a writing session, rehashing all the possible mistakes of what we've written so far, re-producing all of the moments that we thought were settled, in the hopes of breaking into something magnificent, essentially saving our time-outs for the end game, when my phone started ringing.
"Are you Tivo-ing anything," is the beginning of the first call. Then the description of Big Baby being left alone to shoot a free throw, and still getting the rebound on the miss. Redick shooting 3 of 18 or something, Paulus getting blocked...
The phone kept ringing, like it always does after a Carolina win. Greatest recruiting class in history squeeks one game past a Tar Heel rebuilding year, even though they have a one seed. The media starts paying attention to the inequitable calls, and suddenly dook's season goes in the toilet.
I rather like Redick, I like McRoberts game, I don't hate this team the way I hated Boozer and Jay Williams, but it's wonderful to see K starting to fray at the edges.
Our writing session went really well.
Ian said this was the last basketball related post until autumn, so I'd better say my piece now.
I jumped on the George Mason bandwagon right after they beat UNC, but I've actually liked the school for a while. When SCOTUS was considering the Solomon amendment GM was the only law school in the country to file an amicus brief in its defense. Dozens of other, supposedly "better" schools, like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, et al, filed briefs against it, arguing that denying them access to the federal feeding trough if they banned military recruiters from campus was an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. SCOTUS's unanimous decision upholding the amendment evidences GM's superior legal reasoning skills, but it also showed how radical the other schools have become.
GM can also boast as one of the only conservative law schools in the country (Richard Posner and Douglas Ginsburg taught there, among many other prominent conservatives). Whereas 90% of the faculties of Harvard, Yale and Princeton donate exclusively to Democrats (donations over $200 are public record and, yes, someone tallied them up), GM is nearly the opposite. There's an excellent article on GM and these things in the March 13 edition of National Review (I'm sure your all subscribers).
Anyway, all I really wanted to say about it is this: Cinderella's a conservative. Go Patriots!