our team at the Rutgers game in December – we had kickass seats
Yes, I’m talking about basketball today, so if you’re not interested, please turn your head and cough while I cup your balls. You’ve been warned.
I don’t need to tell most of you we lost our first game this weekend: the number one ranked college team in the nation got beat at home by one of the shittiest teams in the ACC, an 18-point underdog with a usually-bad, always-shit-talking point guard who managed 400 assists. Now, I’m not sure where I stand on the “what does losing teach you” spectrum. There are those who think it’s the best thing ever to happen to a team, and there are those who keep moaning “the only thing losing teaches you is how to lose.”
Because Carolina hoops is my religion, I have to opt for the former. In this day and age, going undefeated is not just about talent, it’s about a zen-like emotional laser focus mostly lost on folks aged 18-22… and luck. There are reasons no team has gone undefeated in the modern era, not since Bob Knight (the patron saint of fucked-up, sociopathic rage-aholics everwhere) did it in 1976, with far fewer games.
Nobody, especially this particular squad, is going to be cool with losing on network television to a team we should have oiled, sanded and shellacked. I have faith that Roy will set them to rights, either by giving them a few days off, or putting the fear of God (However Roy Sees Him) into his players. Certainly, I’m in a better mood than the fingertip pundits unleashing their inner demons on the message boards of Inside Carolina.
Seriously, when did the internet become such a terrible place to find succor when you’re low? Even when we win, our message boards fill with “sky is falling” missives, usually misspelled, heaping rancor on Roy Williams or whatever player hasn’t hit their shots (this week, it’s Wayne Ellington – never mind his mind-blower at Clemson). As with any public gathering, you need to do an immense amount of curation and read entries only from people you can stomach, but at some point that percentage dipped below .01%, which makes it hardly worth your time.
Given that, I’ll voice my worries. I love my Heels. With this particular generation, there’s a lot to love – even ABC’ers have got to find it in their hearts to appreciate the likes of Marcus Ginyard and Danny Green. Ty Lawson is quietly stunning in the way he drives, and has never shown anything but total grace to opponents. As for Tyler Hansbrough, I can see why other teams can’t stand him, or think he travels half the time he has the ball, but that’s only because I’ve harbored such hatred for opponents. As for me, Tyler has been a true inspiration for the last three years, to battle relentlessly through my own shortcomings and find a way to make things work. And my daughter is completely in love with him.
yes, she’s wearing number 50 and those Play-Doh smiley faces are probably for him
My take on the last few games? We’re simply exhausted. I think we’ve hit something of a wall, and I’m not sure what coaching staffs do about it. I know the feeling: willing yourself past your endurance and then having nothing left, at least for a while. The way this team runs, their tempo, I wonder if it can be maintained. Those defensive screw-ups? It just looked like fatigue to me. It’s not like our guys didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing; the flesh was merely weak.
There’s a name for a team that peaks in January, then gets run so ragged, with so few substitutions in the name of a draconian coach, that they always flame out in March… and that name is “dook”. Please, for the sake of all that his holy, that ain’t us.
What do you do when this kind of thing happens? I mean, besides giving them backrubs and letting them watch “Fried Green Tomatoes?” Are there any sports psychologists around here?