Better paint and marrow
Hoistin' up the mantle on McSweeney's today. This began as some tangential thoughts on the playoffs and nature's way, but then I realized just how badly someone needed to stick up for the usefulness of the regular season and the unity of the two. The condemnation of games #1-82 is one of the shallowest, most commonly parroted cliches in all of sports, and those who wear these beaks simply cannot be let out of our sight. I'm interested in knowing, though, if I ended up sounding like the godless streetball apologist that some have accused me of being.
At the request of DLIC and the Recluse, though, here are two totally independent points I was working on before I was ambushed by common sense. Be glad that you are being spared but their respective gists.
ARTICLE I: THEY KNOW NOT WHAT OWNS THEM
To every sport approved of by the hearth of moral victory, there is a season. Most classically, baseball is summer; once the slightest snap comes into the air, something is at stake, the player sharpen up, and voila—summer’s wistful demise, as leisure is at last called to bloody arms. The footballs have a similar drift to them; celebrating the crunch and severity that is coldness’s Shermanian march, it culminates in the freezer-scorched utopia of breath-watching and brute will. March Madness is synonymous with Spring Break, and those dastardly Olympics make sense only as abstract odes to the spirit of their respective seasons. A sport in harmony with the climatic rhythm of the universe has a far easier time convincing people to incorporate them into their lives. I will refrain from falling too far into history, but lessons ranging from astrology to the Muppets attest to this most basic of supra-social mechanisms. The NBA regular season, however, fit its will to the most dreaded of purely human constructions: the academic year. Jumping off just after schedules are set, dissipating into far more exalted mists as teacher and pupil alike scurry to fill in the remaining blanks, it is practically set up to have its arrival overshadowed and its resolution buried in singed nerves. The best possible case makes it into a pleasant social ritual selectively deployed in these periods of flurried activity, setting it up to sag once the nights get lonely.
ARTICLE II: ACROSS THE SCALDED PLAINS
The appeal of the playoffs cannot be separate from their timing; their annual odyssey closely parallels the progression of the summer, right down to the prolonged misery it represents. Summer, as distinct from the imagined snapshot mentality of “summertime,” is the slow, barbarous descent into ungodly heat and whimpering decay. Man spends the beginning anticipating the plunge, teetering back and forth between half-full spring and half-empty early summer (the early rounds of the playoffs). One day, he wakes up and finds himself confronted by the fact that life is suddenly harsh and restrictive (playoffs down to the contenders). That last third, August in all its anxious dread, he that realizes he’s been marched into an eerie, inescapable desert that threatens to show him nothing before or since. The Finals are this and nothing more: a merciless death march that one suddenly realize he's been on all along, no matter how shimmery it initially seemed, and whose last days represent the pinnacle of suffering.
Somewhere along the line, I decided that the NBA lends itself more legitimately to year-round fandom, if only because it's so sorely lacking in outrageous peaks and valleys. But I'm not quite comfortable asserting that my favorite sport rules because it's off-season; it comes dangerously close to insisting that mediocrity and/or stylized tedium is the Association's essence.
Speaking of which, shouldn't the NFL and NBA swap drafts?
At what point does Mel Kiper, Jr. become scouting writ large? Does it make any sense for him to assess whose stock is rising or falling, or report on what the general feeling around the league is about a prospect?
Lest anyone accuse us of Cowherdin' it up, one Revgen first posted the photo of The Jacket on a Clublakers.com forum, followed shortly thereafter by Lakers Dynasty 2000. Had we thought that we were the only ones who had been alerted to its presence, we probably would've done a better job of carving out the right paths. Or maybe we just owe a certain Disney intern a big, fat, peersome apology.
Linking here has nothing to do with blood ties, everything to do with the second part of the mix posted therein. And you shouldn't just be listening to this because dude put his home and belongings at risk so I could see Wednesday finish up as it happened.