Thursday, February 09, 2006

No offense but you're not really on my level...

That's exaclty what I felt like saying to the IT guy at my work this morning while he was sitting in my office. Why would I want to say something like this to somebody who was going out of their way to help me? Well, because he was trying to talk sports with me. I love to talk sports with knowledgeable fans, really I do. It's just that talking about sports with most of the population makes me want to gouge out my own eyes with dirty peanut shells. For the most part, the general public is spectacularly uninformed and get about 90% of their sports knowledge via SportsCenter, or worse from the local sports section.

Our IT guy is probably worse than most of the people who I can't stand talking to because, well, he's an IT guy. I don't mean to stereotype here (actually, yes I do) but he fits the bill exaclty of what you'd expect from a guy whose job involves solving server problems and fixing motherboards. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact I've often wished I had spent more time around the computer in my youth. Mostly because IT jobs have always struck me as a pretty sweet gig. You pretty much answer to yourself, you can get away with being a jerk to most of the people you encounter because they have a need for your services, and you are working in a field for which the demand will not soon decline. These guys have forgotten more about computers than I'll ever know. As I'm aware of this, I don't attempt to talk shop with them...ever. I know that we can't have a conversation on the same level so I don't bother trying. Unfortunately for me, my title at work isn't "Sports Aficionado" or something like that. If it were, then maybe people would be too intimidated to approach me with things like, "Do you know what I heard? Brett Favre says he only wants to play for the Dolphins or the Bucs!" or "Can you believe that Terrell Ownes is going the Redskins?". As it currently stands, those are exaclty the kind of inane crap that I have to pretend is of even mild interest to me. Meanwhile, I die a little inside as each day passes.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'd might as well discuss some sports:

- Can anybody give me a valid reason for why Wake Forest-Boston College was prominently featured during ESPN's Rivalry Week? Other than ESPN being the media anti-christ, of course.

- Speaking of the aforementioned week on ESPN, other than Duke-UNC there's not a game that I'm more excited about than tonight's West Virginia-Pittsburgh matchup. There isn't a team whose offense I enjoy watching more than West Virginia. While it wouldn't work for most of the team's in college basketball today, it seems to be designed with this specific group of players in mind. I could watch this team play just about anybody and be entertained. My personal level of affection for this offense is helped by the fact that I've always thought a succesfully executed back door cut is one of the most beautiful sights in sports. Finally, while the media loves to obsess on Kevin "Worst Tattoos on Earth" Pittsnogle and his oh-so West Virginia roots, it's Mike Gansey who is the best player on this team and puts them over the top when it comes to competing against elite level teams. He's my pick for the most underrated player in America.

One semi-related note: I'm also pretty interested to see Michigan play Ohio State tonight. Both teams are playing very well this year and other than the first half of Michigan-UCLA a month ago, I haven't seen either team play at all.

- While JJ Redick showed some serious "onions", as Bill Raftery would say, on Tuesday night while carrying Duke to victory and while he continues to show more and more facets to his offensive game. I found it particulary funny that Vitale and Patrick took Redick's performance as further proof that Redick is destined for NBA success due to his ability to create space for himself in the final minutes against Carolina. I guess I was watching a different game than those two because I saw Redick being covered by Wes Miller in the final moments of that game. Wes Miller is a very good shooter, but he's also 5'11" and not particularly athletic. I sure hope that the future National Player of the Year can get his own shot against some sub-six foot white kid who originally played basketball at James Madison. Let me be clear: I'm not downing JJ Redick's ability. I think he is a fantastic college player and has improved tremendously over the course of his four years in Durham. I just find it terribly vexing that people who are paid to watch basketball can't figure out the differences between collegiate and NBA level competition.

- Did you know that the Winter Olympics start tomorrow? I did, but not until sometime on Monday. As much as I love the Summer Olympics, it's always been kid of tough for me to wrap my attention around the Winter Olympics. My disdain for figure skating has an awful lot to do with it, but I can't help but thinking that my inexperience with winter and winter related things (I didn't see snow until I was 19, and even then it was less than an inch, and melting) has kept me from truly appreciating all that goes on at the Winter Olympics every four years. Well, this is the year that I give it a shot. Other than Ice Skating, Ice Dancing, Ice Table Setting and whatever other skating related sports (excluding Hockey) exist, I'm going to make a concerted effort to tune in and be a fan of the Winter Olympics like I do with any other high profile sporting event. If I can stay up until 2 am to watch a tennis match (Agassi-Blake, which was well worth it) then I can force my girlfriend to watch the Olympics instead of some Tivo'd episode of Wife Swap.

- I didn't see any of the game, because I was busy watching the Magic choke away a late fourth quarter lead and lose in double OT, but apparently Dwyane Wade had ten dunks last night. Ten Dunks! That's impressive for somebody like Duncan or Garnett. For a guy who is 6'3" to pull something like that off is downright amazing.

- Finally, I'd like to issue a big "Fuck You" to the University of South Carolina. I looked the other way when you hired Spurrier. I was even glad that your football program might finally turn the corner. I even managed to contain my hatred when Florida's loss to South Carolina kept the Gators out of the SEC Championship game. However, now that you've swept the University of Florida's Men's Basketball team (handing them 2 of their 3 losses thus far) this year, you've officially been added to the list of SEC schools that I despise. Go to hell. All of you can go straight to hell.


CFunk28 said...

Mike Gansey is from your favorite city on Earth. Yes, Cleveland.

Ohio State impressed the hell out me last night. Offensively at least. Its always tough to win on the road, especially in a rivalry game.

Good call on the Redick thing. I actually heard someone say something knowledgable about him Wed night. I flipped to the Rutgers-ND game on Classic and whoever the color guy was said the Douby from Rutgers at 6'3" was in the same boat as Redick at 6'4" in that they were both too short to be full time NBA 2-guards and would have to learn to play the point at least some. I don't ever see Redick being able to do that. But it was good to hear someone on ESPN actually sack up and speak the truth.

Mark said...

While Redick's handle has improve dramatically, he's not even close to fluid enough to handle the point in the NBA, to say nothing of his lack of top end quickness. Douby is probably the other guy I'd pick as the most underrated in America. He's actually probably more underrated due to the fact that he plays for Rutgers and Gansey is known by far more fans throughout the country.

Something that will end up helping Gansey, Redick, and Douby is the recent success of undersized twos while playing for teams' second units. If you are a prolific enough scorer then you can make a home for yourself on somebody's bench in the league.

As for OSU, it always helps when you shoot 12-16 on 3s in the first half but, yes, they did look pretty good last night.

Cleveland can burn down tonight for all I care.

CFunk28 said...

Ala Ben Gordon

Mark said...

Exaclty, not to mention lower profile guys like Juan Dixon and Eddie House.