Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A quick rant

As the basketball rolled toward midcourt and the final buzzer sounded, my first reaction was to look over to my brother and say, "What the hell was that?" The answer, of course, was "periods of decent basketball largely overshadowed by lousy basketball that led to great disappointment," but the question still rattled in my head. The 75-73 loss to Baylor - the fourth-ranked team in the nation - was that sort of game; one that had fans jumping in celebration when Jordan Henriquez was on the receiving end of yet another lob pass and shouting in exasperation when the Wildcats, once again, passed the ball directly to a Baylor defender as if it was a Mama's Family DVD that they were trying to regift.

The Wildcats seemingly had the game in-hand late, simply needing to have a few good offensive possessions in order to protect a four-point lead. Instead, K-State handled the basketball the way my three-year-old niece treats balloons, batting it around with no real regard for where it ends up. In no time (not literally... best I can tell, there were no tears in the space-time continuum during the game), the Bears had eliminated the Wildcats' lead, pushing K-State from a sense of protection to a sense of urgency.

The response to said urgency? Somehow it involved ignoring the best player on the team. Rodney McGruder had scored 30 points on the evening, showing both the ability to attack the basket and to hit from long-range. With the team trailing by 2 with 20+ seconds remaining, it seemed obvious that McGruder might get a chance to tie the game... Apparently it was a little too obvious. The K-State possession never put the ball in the hands of McGruder. Instead, freshman Angel Rodriguez ended up with a chance to drive to the basket. It looked as if he had a wide-open lane, but a Baylor defender caught up with him to knock the ball away.

Now inbounding the ball from the baseline, the Wildcats had 3.4 seconds to put the ball in the hoop, tying the game or - should the intestinal fortitude of the team be great - taking the lead. It was a good opportunity to get McGruder a look at the basket after coming off a screen. As the ball arced toward the hoop, the silence of anticipation would have enveloped the Octagon of Doom. Good or not, the shot would have provided the most suspenseful moment of the Wildcats' season so far... Instead, the Wildcats attempted to lob a pass from out of bounds to get a dunk or tip-in. Yes, this lob pass was attempted against Baylor, who sports a front line of unbelievable athletes who stand 6-7, 6-9, 6-11. All three were in the lane with a chance to anticipate the pass, meaning the odds of successfully completing said lob were slightly worse than my odds of having a date on a given Friday night. That, friends, is not good.

The pass was knocked away and, as the ball rolled toward midcourt, the Wildcats' chance at picking up a home victory over the nation's No. 4 team expired. What the hell was that?


I just spent 500+ words complaining about a basketball game that had no ill-effect on my life (other than a mild case of potty mouth). At no point during my shouting at the refs to "be consistent" and "c'mon, that's horrible" (Copyright Derek D. Larson, 2012) was my life in any sort of danger (that I'm aware of... If you were stalking me and had a rifle aimed at me at any time, please let me know). Fact is, I'm lucky to have the chance to have season tickets to watch a Top 25 college basketball team, and I'm not saying that just because I've had season tickets to watch plenty of horrible basketball teams. File the aforementioned rant under the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, then take a quick moment to be thankful for what you have.

Fine, if you want to take a quick moment to be thankful that I don't get on a soapbox very often, that works, too. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Lousy Mayans

It has become tradition at The Writings to take a chance at the end of each calendar year to look back at significant events. After all, if we don't commemorate the fact that Jesse Chavez gave up three home runs while pitching less than eight innings* for the 2011 Royals, who will?

*Illustration to help those who do not find entertainment in baseball (you poor souls) realize the ineptitude of this stat: If you drank nothing but bottled water for a week, it would be pretty unlikely that you would attempt to take a drink only to completely miss your mouth and ram the bottle directly into your retina. Imagine doing that three times in a week.

The 2011 year-in-review is coming, but something odd happened lately: life.

Weird. I'm definitely not used to that. If that becomes a habit, we're all doomed.

Ah, yes. As for the title of this quick Writing, I'm simply following my only New Year's resolution. In 2012, anything that goes awry (such as not writing) is the fault of the Mayans and their short-sighted calendar. If any of you know a Mayan, please ask if they'll consider printing an addendum that runs through 2082. They can decorate said calendar however they like; pictures of dalmatian puppies, Dilbert cartoons, quotes from Pog collectors (Fact: Mayans loved Pogs*), whatever works. Just have them adjust it so that folks aren't losing their minds in December thinking the world might end or that Wheel of Fortune will be cancelled (which might be the end of the world for some). Thanks in advance.

*Fact: Not a real fact.