Everybody Into the Pool: Celebrating the Return of College BasketballPosted by rtmsf on November 7th, 2011
Exactly 31 long weeks ago, on a Monday night in a city more sprawling than sprightly, two teams stepped onto an elevated court in front of 80,000 people in a football stadium and tipped off a game more memorable for its unsightliness than its beauty. Connecticut and Butler may not have won over many new fans with their combined 26.1% shooting on that warm spring evening, but as a certain blockbuster game that took place in Tuscaloosa over the weekend shows, teams who are better at stopping people from scoring rather than scoring themselves have a peculiar tendency to make the game ugly.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though, and even if the score had ended at 2-0, the sport’s 73d national champion was crowned that evening in Houston. A short 21 weeks from now, we’ll do it again. From this Monday night to that Monday night and 147 days in between, we’ll submit ourselves to the altar of the college basketball gods, genuflecting before a slate of over 5,000 games involving 345 Division I teams, each with a specific hope/delusion of grandeur of a shot to play on the next elevated court… in the next football stadium… at the next Final Four.
Forgive the religious imagery, but what we do and how we feel about this game is our personal form of idolatry. Whereas some people obsess over the Kardashians and others the next killer app, we spend our summers thinking about how many games we can reasonably attend next season without going bankrupt; how many televisions we can set up in the living room without the missus filing for a divorce; how many hours of sleep we can average during Championship Week and still keep our sanity. We know that there are others like us out there — we’ve chatted with and met many of you. Some of you have become friends; others still, colleagues and acquaintances. We don’t like to think we’ve made many enemies, but maybe certain fanbases and sensitive writers think otherwise. Regardless, the underlying theme is that all of you who come here share our affliction — our undeniable passion and love for a sport that can be so fickle and can cause so much heartbreak, yet still manages to regularly make us believe in tiny miracles.
Of course, this site will be there throughout. We weren’t the first of its kind and God knows we’re not the best, but like some of our favorite players both young and old, we give maximum effort every night out and hope that there are a few readers who appreciate the scrappy kids at the end of the bench who try to make the most of the few minutes of run we’re given. As we enter our fifth season covering the ever-changing and fascinating landscape of college basketball, there’s one thing that never gets old — that butterfly feeling in the pit of our stomach when a new season is upon us. The anticipation of new storylines, new heroes, new heartbreaks, and new villains.
Which player will become the next media darling like Jimmer? Who might step into the vacuum left by trailblazers like George Mason, Butler and VCU? Can the hype about North Carolina possibly be legitimate? Will Calipari break through to shed the title of “the best that never?” In roughly 15 minutes, we reset the clock and start answering them. Right now, every team is a national title contender and every player is a NPOY candidate, even those on a team that has nine incoming freshmen and another who went 10-22 last season. None of that matters anymore — what happens next is up to them.
Welcome to next year. Pull up a seat and stay for a while — we’ll certainly hold your spot.