This is the first post in a blog that I’ve been talking about starting for over a year now. Like most blogs, this will be a place where I’ll post my random musings about various things and encourage my friends to do the same. The thing about my musings is that they’re mostly about basketball, but sometimes I’ll have an interesting thought about a musician or a quirky movie. I will not promise regular posts, as I’m a college student who works. I also love playing video games and slothing around my house, so pick your reason I guess. Either way, there will not be regular posts in the vein of Zach Lowe (who is a machine). I know my legions of wanting readers will be dismayed.
Speaking of Lowe, and Grantland in general, this blog will be a version of that, most likely, with less pop culture and more sports. I remember when Grantland was launched, around the time the Mavericks won in 2011 (best moment of my life) and before the Rangers lost in 2011 (one of the worst moments of my life). Bill Simmons wrote the forward, so to speak, about how this website had taken form and what it would be about. I remember reading it and, like my reaction to most Grantland articles, I was wholly entertained by and very impressed at his insights. I enjoy smart people who can make smart things digestible and fun, and this blog is, in part, my attempt to do just that. So yes, this blog will be sort of an approximation of Grantland; I’m one to give the credit where it is due. Having said that, there will be plenty of dry player evaluation type-posts *spoiler alert* Nigel Hayes might be Wisconsin’s best NBA prospect. But I also enjoy digesting things and writing on them.
A bit about me, though I cannot imagine anyone I don’t know reading this, I’m a 21 year-old student at the University of Oregon. I’m a business major concentrating in sports business and I’m also in the Honors College. Basically, what that means is that some of my classes are terrible and some of my classes are engaging and interesting. I’m the kid in class that talks a lot and for that I apologize. At least I’ve graduated from being the kid who tries to poop on students who make bad points and for that I apologize doubly.(Aside: It took me a long time to realize that there were people that simply couldn’t think well. It took me even longer to realize that that inability didn’t entitle them to poor treatment. Three cheers for personal growth.) I’m also the person who can only truly relax once there’s no mess in my house. My taste buds are so picky that I essentially eat like a 7 year-old. I also framed that sentence to blame my taste buds and not myself, but then decided that certain dodgy tactics are unbecoming so I wrote this one. You know, just normal person stuff.
I believe that anyone who isn’t rooting for Tiger Woods is either lying to themselves or terrible. I low-key was devastated by Stuart Scott’s death despite not knowing him personally in any way. For awhile, I didn’t know why. He was a great Sportcenter anchor who helped define what it meant to be a Sportscenter anchor, I knew that much. He had been the only consistent part of my morning ritual for over a decade. His journalistic immensity has been covered at length by various media outlets; I’m not going to till a barren field. The more personal part of his passing, to me, is that he was a huge part of the sporting world of my childhood. All of those athletes have long retired, save durable freaks like Duncan, Bryant, Brady, and Manning (the elder, as if I needed to clarify). So the tragedy of Scott provided a final omen of what I already knew, but didn’t want to admit: the figureheads under whom I grew as a fan and analyst were all but extinct, their page in history has been written and turned.
This idea stretches to my love for Tiger, too. (Aside: And A-Rod. Triply sorry. I mean, I don’t have any defense for liking him at this point. I just do.) He was vilified in 2009, when I was 14 or 15, just kind of learning what it meant to be an adult and all of those cliche concepts that are cheesy but true. Tiger, though I didn’t notice at the time, destroyed that image as the pinnacle of greatness and achievement. I didn’t even take issue with what he had done. (Aside: Here’s a secret, high school-aged males will never turn on someone whose tragic flaw is mackin’ too hard.) But his fall from grace affected me and many in my generation. Though Tiger’s golfing now, his flame went out for a while and it hasn’t burned as brightly since. Others went around that time, but slowly, not as disgracefully. T-Mac’s last 20 ppg season was 2007-2008 with the Rockets. He only played 62 games. Randy Johnson last pitched over 100 innings in 2008 as well. (Aside: Compiling a 3.76 ERA, striking out 8.5 K/9 over 184 innings. At the age of 44. Oh my lanta.) I hated McGrady and loved the Big Unit. I’ll never forget when T-Mac, in the ‘05 playoffs, eviscerated Shawn Bradley’s being so wholly that he just quit basketball.
(Aside: I’m sorry Shawn Bradley, your only crime was being hilariously tall. Big men get dunked on all the time. I feel like people used to seek you out, like one can’t be that great of a dunker if he hadn’t put his grundle in your grill. And that’s not your fault. Go Mavs. Tyson Chandler is a godsend.) But their losses both hurt, despite my scorn for T-Mac. That process started around 2008 and is now ending, a surprisingly long 7 years later. Plainly stated, it’s been sad watching the athletes that made me love fall in love with sports hang it up. That sadness built itself up, and kept building with the passage of time and the expiration of admirable careers. It finally manifested when Stuart Scott passed. With that pain in my heart, my youth sufficiently extinguished, I will carry on as I always have. The difference, now, is that I will write about these things and ask people to read them as self-effacingly as I can. How do you say, “you seem like you enjoy when I talk at you, now I want to write at you, too?” You don’t. You post it to Facebook and you tell your close friends.