I sit here on this Saturday evening with a lot in my past but not much on my mind. I can write all about the various experiences of camp, from getting schooled by Div-I basketball players to coaching a group of 9-year olds from last place to a championship. I can recount all of my encounters with cool basketball players as well as the accolades received from one of the game's most esteemed coaches. And yet, I sit here on this evening feeling finally let down. There was always something "cooler" to be gained, and yet now there really isn't. I kept trying to tell myself that I was being childish and delusional, and yet I couldn't keep myself from desiring to be in the middle of something that always seemed so important. It's not that important. Watching the middle school nerds from the TIP program walk around with their instruments and neon nametags, I realize that their eventual contribution is just as "cool." Why are athletes so cool? What made the Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock, an inspiration to a nation amongst many individuals who worked hard to establish themselves in the depression and fight for goodness and righteousness. What makes us care so much? Much has been written about how sports imitates life and puts everything on a grander scale. How sports can produce movie-like storylines in real life. How sport and competition have always been so crucial for functioning societies, back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Then after making such grand claims of profound significance, these same writers revert to admitting that sports, in the end, merely imitates life. What is this life that we are imitating? I know so many individuals who have spent so many years training, competing, and coaching that I am not too sure what type of life goes on outside of sports. Politics? Social interaction? Justice? Learning? Is that life? Well those are all extremely fundamental elements of the sports realm and always have been. Why am I even saying realm? There is no realm that separates "sports" from "life." At this point, you are probably asking yourself what my point is. Where is this going? Well it is a circle, because I have no conclusion to make. Only questions to ask. Or are those questions conclusions in and of themselves?
Monday, June 20, 2005
This post will have to be quick as I have to be back down in the gym soon, but camp is going really well and I am having the team of my life. I have a suite in Duke all to myself and get to coach the little kids which means that they actually think I'm good (I was asked what position I play on the team). And for those in the know, I was also asked whether I was Matt McKillop (I TOLD YOU!). But the guys are awesome...we are having a big counselor's game tonight and I am really looking forward to it. Davidson really realizes that this is a family and Coach McK is definetly one of the best coaches in the country. I am already looking forward to doing this next year. Hopefully I will have another update at the end of the week when I have more time on the computer.
Posted by Will Bryan at 6:36 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Sorry for the hiatus in posting...it seems that every time I try to post something, the internet signs off when I send it. And I am way too lazy to do it again.
Well work is about over for this part of the summer, as I will soon be heading off to Davidson for camp. It should be an awesome time.
It has been so interesting riding around in the van the past couple of days as I have really gotten to hear some good chunks of ESPN radio. Radio talk shows are certainly meant to create engagement with sports even it is at the cost of our sanity, but I was particularly intrigued by a comparison between the NY Yankees and Atlanta Braves. A comparison/contrast of the two franchises presents an ambiguous understanding of the nature of baseball and its fans. Both teams have been extremely successful over the last decade, with the Braves winning 13 straight division titles, several pennants and a WS. The Yanks have won 4 WS since 1996 and several pennants as well. NY plays in an extremely big market while Atlanta has TBS and a lack of regional competitors to spread its influence all over the southeast. At this point, the comparisons begin to contrast. The Yankees have an extremely high level of expectation from their fans while the Braves are accustomed to mid-season slumps and playoff disasters. The Yankees have literally bought their success while the Braves have bred it through a strong farm system and superior coaching. Both teams came into this year with high hopes as the Yankees had acquired Randy Johnson and the Braves Tim Hudson. Both teams had powerful hitting returning to a good fielding lineup. But when the Braves started cold and then fell into an injury calamity, there was nothing more than an asterisk. One way or another, we knew to look for them again in September, like always. But, back in April, when the Yankees lost a few games, the entire world was turned upside down in a search for answers. They kept on playing and went on to win 18 out of 20. Now they are slumping again, and Torre, Steinbrenner and the Bronx are freaking out. Perhaps it is the management. Perhaps it is the fan demographic. Perhaps it is the character of the players. But for some reason, this successful franchise does not know how to play from the bottom. They don't know how to come back to win, they just whine. The Braves, on the other hand, can get slammed with a semi-truck and Bobby calmly calls on his young players to come through. And if they don't, he doesn't act like the world is coming to an end. He knows that he is a good coach in a good city. His job is not in jeopardy from the management, fans, or radio analysts. Joe Torre and the Yankees need to be reminded of that.
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:32 PM
Thursday, June 02, 2005
So as I have been watching ESPN pretty regularly over the last week, I have noticed a disturbing trend that has entered their realm of sports journalism. I had been so blinded to this trend because it was always so close and the possibility seems very dire. But I am afraid that ESPN has truly fallen prey to the same reporting that Jon Stewart has criticized for years on the cable news networks. As the 24-news channel has become a staple of cable networks, priorities on reporting have become massively skewed as the latest Wall Street report comes right after the breaking news that Brad and Jennifer split up. Is it true that we, as a nation, care more that Bo lost American Idol than about the AIDS epidemic in Africa? In my despair for our country's news outlets, I held close to the sports world as my only beacon of light in a dark world. In sports reporting there is drama and struggle, victory and defeat, greed and selflessness. But as I kept up with the talking heads analyzing the NBA's Eastern Conference finals, I became convinced that 24-hour news stations have taken on a life of their own. In a eerily familiar turn of events (a la James Bond's Tomorrow Never Dies), news stations are creating their own news. After Dwayne Wade was shut down by the Detroit Pistons defense in Game 1, two days of expert analysis focused on why they hadn't been focusing on Detroit before. About how Detroit always did have the ability to shut down Wade, and about how the Heat were given the challenge to prove themselves. After Game 2, Wade had scored 40 and the Heat had tied the series at 1-1. The media was in a frenzy asking Pistons players about how they wouldn't be able to stop Wade. When posed a general question on the topic, Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace responded, "the problem isn't with us, it's with you f***ers. We did it in Game 1 and you all wondered how Dwayne could break out. He did and now you think we can't stop him? I'm gonna go play Game 3 and stop talking to you f***ers." Now sports journalists have asked stupid questions for years to try to fill their columns but the excessive redundancy of ESPN in this matter has me quite frustrated. It's like they don't even remember what they said three days ago, and certainly don't expect their listeners to. Yes I understand that you have to fill four channels of programming for twenty-four hours, and baseball highlights just don't cut it, but still, be honest with us. We aren't idiots! We know that Wade is an amazing player, that Detroit has a strong defense and that analysis doesn't win ballgames. In seven game series, you should concentrate more on the subleties of the matchups. Somehow these guys don't understand that Prince can shut down Wade one night and be killed the next and yet be able to do either on the third. That's the way the game is played and ESPN is playing us for a fool.
Posted by Will Bryan at 8:47 AM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
It's been a rainy couple of days in the Chucktown...lots of humidity. It's like the rain is just appearing in the air. I am learning some of the more extensive morning routes as I will have to take over for one of our guys next week. Up even earlier. But the delivery makes things go quicker and its not all that stressful when you know where you are going.
The sports world has slown down around here lately as we are all strapping in for a long hot summer. The state of South Carolina is proud as we have the most number of representatives in the College Baseball World Series with 6: Clemson, USC, Furman, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and maybe Winthrop. It is really cool for the SoCon to have two. Hopefully we can get some more national press out of this. I'm looking forward to bball camp coming up, it will be fun to get even more of a connection with the Davidson sports realm...so exciting.
Posted by Will Bryan at 1:02 PM