A Column of Enchantment: Bah Humbug to You and Yours

Posted by Joseph Nardone on December 25th, 2014

Depending on when this is published it is either the celebration of the world’s most famous carpenter and his birthday or it is the day after. Either way, to you and yours, I hope you have as much fun doing whatever it is that normal people do on the morning after some guy sneaks into your house, steals your cookies, drinks your milk and are forced to feed his reindeer, as every other normal member of the human species. Alas, college basketball.

Somehow Oliver Purnell is Involved in this Christmas Scene

Somehow Oliver Purnell is Involved in this Classic Christmas Scene

For those of you who do not care for Christmas or truly hate spending time with your family, well, there’s some pretty solid news. Despite the Hallmark Channel and the like throwing more bad movies at your picture-box than the SyFy channel could ever dream of, there does happen to be a few college games on the slate. Four in total (that I know of at least). So, I guess, you will have something to watch as you pretend to listen to Aunt Betty’s latest victories in the kitchen. To be completely fair, though, Aunt Betty does make a mean pasta salad. Unfortunately, the four games in Hawaii aren’t all that intriguing. George Washington plays Wichita State; Ohio takes on surprisingly disappointing Nebraska; Colorado will attempt to make Hawaii a non-destination point; and DePaul will play Loyola Marymount. I’d ignore all these games even if you like your family just a little bit, but if you really need to get a college hoops fix then I suggest you watch DePaul continue to pretend to be a semi-competent basketball team. I mean, it is Oliver Purnell‘s farewell tour — I think.

It is no secret that the Blue Demons have floundered under Big Bad Oliver. Being approximately a billion games under .500 just isn’t good (statistic might not be accurate). Still, because DePaul, Purnell has been able to hang onto his job since the athletic department seems to care about winning basketball games as much as it does in learning the true identity of Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer. Like, not a lot. Not to mention that Rudolph’s backstory sure seems fishy. Where are that deer’s parents? His nose is red so that makes him qualified to lead the rest of the more experienced reindeer? You’re telling me that Santa made it all those years in bad weather without the (again, I think?) orphaned-ish reindeer, but he somehow came into power? I am pretty sure Rudolph has some unflattering pictures of Santa somewhere. Nepotism runs deep — even at the North Pole, friends.

Back to Oliver and DePaul. This is all less of an indictment of Purnell than it has to do with DePaul having the least caring athletic department of any basketball program that should care. Sure, the Purnell era has had less success than Batch 19, but at least he is trying. It seems, from the outside at least, that the only thing the athletic department cares about is spreading around the earned basketball money to other programs and using state money to build their inept basketball program a new arena — which, mind you, has already gone a few million over budget.

DePaul is a sleeping giant of a basketball program. They’re in a good market with great possible yearly in-state recruits and should have the resources as well as the financial backing to matter — yet they don’t because they don’t care to. That is the sole possible explanation why a school would keep a coach around who has never done anything other than lose in every version of the Big East Conference. Purnell might have the Blue Demons exceeding some expectations this year, but his previous runs have resulted in such catastrophic win/loss records that nearly every single university would have fired a coach with a similar resume by now. Not DePaul, though, because paying two coaches would be against their athletic department manifesto, whatever that would possibly entail — probably everything but winning.


I hope you are reading this on Christmas, too. Not because I want to help put you in the dumps, but I’d like to help highlight a few things for you as well. Remember Christmas being fun? Me too. Back in the day. Back when I didn’t actually have to spend money on other people. I would just go to bed, wake up and see a ton of stuff for me to open. Some years better than others, but always waking up with more stuff to play with than the night before. Now, well, now I get nothing. Instead, because of science I am told, I’m partly responsible for getting gifts for my two daughters. Don’t get me wrong, I really like these kids. It could almost be said that I enjoy their company. But getting them presents on someone else’s birthday? What a pile of Olaf poop (you know, the snowman from Frozen. Ah, dad jokes).

Another side note: I am told babies come via a combination of science and nice people. My wife told me this and she is the most honest person I know. So, when my oldest was born and she told me that it had something to do with Bob the neighbor being a really nice guy I, naturally, felt blessed that a nice neighbor brought a daughter to be in my life. When my youngest was born it now had something to do with a guy named Tim and a lady named Rachelle. I never met either, but I sure hope they have a nice Christmas too. Three strangers gave me two of the best presents ever. Regardless, I got two daughters now because of science and niceness. It had nothing to do with a magical bearded man who shimmies down my chimney once a year.

I don’t want anything for Christmas this year myself. The joy of watching two gifts from three other people open their presents will be a gift within itself. However, if we were to be honest with each other, it would be nice if my wife and I got some alone time. We have never, um, you know… She’s always busy going over to Bob’s, visiting Tim and talking to Rachelle on the phone. All of which are really nice things, them checking up on our kids and all. I don’t see any other people calling to check up on things they have given me for Christmas over the years. God knows that Joe from HR has not once, not ever, called to see if that bottle of wine is doing okay from Christmas 2012.

Nevertheless, I hope everyone has a great Christmas, whether college hoops is involved or not. Heck, maybe if you’re lucky enough one of your wife’s friends will get you some kids too! I’ll be praying that they are all nice enough, with just enough science floating around, that they can afford to get you some.

Now, if someone will only tell me more specifics about this science part I would feel a lot better about telling you how to get kids.

Merry Christmas!

Joseph Nardone (22 Posts)

Joseph has covered college basketball both (barely) professionally and otherwise for over five years. A Column of Enchantment for Rush The Court on Thursdays and other basketball stuff for The Student Section on other days.

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