Friday, March 24, 2006

There's no crying in basketball...

***This post is sports-centric, I know, but read through because I want your feedback.***

A wise person once said, “Tears are a sign of life.” If that’s true, then Adam Morrison is really alive.

Nobody east of the Rockies was more excited about UCLA’s victory last night than I was. (Nobody was more angry, either, when the realization washed over them that the Texas Longhorns game would be on the television instead of the Bruins.) I was able to follow the game on the computer, living and, mostly, dying with each Gonzaga basket. And there were plenty of them. In fact, halfway through the game I got a voice mail from my brother who called the Bruins’ effort a “travesty” but encouraged me to stay the course. It was that bad. And I felt bad. But, then…

UCLA made it a game in the second half, cutting into the lead early and then hanging around. In the final three minutes, things just got ridiculous. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Bruins began forcing turnovers and hitting shots that just refused to fall in the first half. Which led us to this sequence: Morrison received an inbounds pass with nineteen seconds left, was effectively covered and threw a pass across the court to teammate J.P. Batista. UCLA succeeded in stealing the ball and hitting a layup to take the lead. That was at eight seconds. Gonzaga inbounded the ball, but had it stripped again and UCLA fell on it with two seconds left. The Bruins had been down by as many as 17 and were trailing by 9 with three minutes left, but now found themselves in the lead, 72-71. And that’s when Adam Morrison proved his heart was beating.

You may know Morrison as the man with the ugliest mustache in college sports. Perhaps it’s the silly late-70s socks that catch your attention. What I noticed at that moment, with two seconds left, was that he was crying. Yes, tears. Crying before the game was even over. It only precipitated (no pun intended) the flood that would come after the game went final and Morrison collapsed at center court with his jersey pulled over his head. His shoulders were heaving and I couldn’t help but feel a little badly for him. Here was the nation’s leading scorer reduced to a puddle. His team lost, and he was overcome.

So, here’s the thing: A friend told me that today on the sports radio Morrison was raked over the coals for crying before the game was over. And for crying after the game was over. Apparently, there’s no crying in basketball. When I pseudo-defended Morrison—I said I had no problem with the post-game “our season is over” tears, but was not really down with the in-game, “we’re now down by one point with two seconds left” tears—my friend even hated on the post-game flow.

So, I put it to you: What do you do with an athlete that cries after or during a loss? Do you prefer your stars to be emotionless? Is it only okay to cry after a win? Why do we need our stars to play dry?

If you need to see it for yourself before you weigh in, go to CBS Sportsline and click on UCLA: Unbelievable!

Fire away. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The return to Guam...

Although it may appear otherwise, I haven’t actually forgotten that I claimed this part of the internet for myself. Rather, like most Americans and Guam, I just haven’t paid much attention to it lately. Then this morning it came up to me with a sad look and said, “I’d love to spend some time with you again.” I was hooked.

Since I posted last…

School has been slightly crazy. The defining adjective of the semester would have to be “constant.” After a “new,” a “tiresome” and an “invigorating,” I guess it was time for a “constant.” I’m happy to report, though, that I am still on track to graduate in May ’07, have my thesis topic all picked out and some preliminary research underway and am pretty excited about my fall schedule. Also great news: 7 weeks until summer.

The United States of America lost in the World Baseball Classic. In fact, they didn’t even make it to the finals, in which Japan beat Cuba. Not sure how to evaluate this yet. In a way it may be good for the long-term outlook of the WBC that someone other than the US won. I was kind of worried that other countries would just write it off completely if it turned into a US-fest. Now, in three years, everyone will be gunning for Japan. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) On the other hand, this is our game! Who invited these guys?

Went to St. Louis over spring break for an amazing mission trip working with World Impact. I was so thoroughly impressed with the organization, the people and their heart for the poor. Our team did really well, too, so that was a huge relief for Greta and I. Co-leading a trip was really good for us.

The beloved UCLA Bruins are in the Sweet 16. I really think they have a legitimate shot at beating the mustached-one and his minions. (I know, I think the Bruins have a legitimate shot at winning the title every year. But this year is different because I’m less delusional.)

My dear, committed wife has signed up for her first half-marathon. She’s been working really hard and is excited about seeing all her training pay off. I couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to kiss her sweaty forehead after she crosses the finish line.

Oh, yeah, I may be getting something published…Stay tuned.

(P.S. If you’ve been checking this site regularly, you deserve some sort of award for faithfulness.)

(P.S.S. Today I was watching a spring training baseball game during my free period while I was subbing. One of the commentators said the following, “When you got a bunch of new guys, it takes time to get used to their different personalities, different styles, different aggressivenesses.” Uh huh, aggressivenesses. Good stuff you’d only hear on ESPN at 1 in the afternoon.)