Which Way to Christendom?
I can take no credit for the following idea: Skeets said it, left me to think about it for hours, and then said this morning that he'd barely considered it since opening the floodgates. And frankly, I think it deserved better. It may have come out of a discussion of a certain incident I'm sure we're all quite sick of, and not at all interested in hashing out any further. But it's just as applicable to yesterday's GW musings, and sets up a brand new line of inquiry concerning style and intention. Now, I want us all to come together and see it through.
Skeets asked, simply enough, why it is that only defensive plays (or players) are branded as "reckless" or "irresponsible," when certainly there are offensive plays that pose just as much of a destructive threat. This obviously breaks down two ways: Guys who put themselves at risk, and those who endanger the well-being of others. The latter category is easier to get a handle on, but it's generally incumbent upon the defender to get out of the way. The way basketball is constructed, defense reacts to offense. Sure, LeBron could run down the court and crash into someone, or leap right into them and break a nose. But the former is so "reckless" that it borders on incompetence, while in the case of the latter, we make it the duty of the defender to judge whether it's worth trying to draw a charge. If there weren't that agency involved, the charge wouldn't have once been a heroic act.
(Furthermore, in both cases, the defender will be on the ground, while the most serious concern is falls from up above.)
But what about players who play with a self-destructive streak? Or someone like Manu, often described as "out of control." Perhaps inspired by this excellent comment, I've begun thinking about the responsibility involved when a player takes flight. I'm not saying they should hold back and get all timorous, but that through experience guys who jump a lot gain a sense of how to go up in a way that, when they come down, will minimize their likelihood of dying. Or even just knowing how to break their fall when caught by surprise. Falling is, after all, an act of style, and can tell you a lot about a player. And in the sense that it's directly tied to their mortality, it may be one of the most revealing of all.
P.S. Because I am bored: Elevating the Game is like FD with history; When A Man Cries is my favorite soul comp ever; and The Furies is the perfect cowboy-noir movie. And Flower Traveling Band are playing a reunion at the Knitting Factory this weekend. THE WONDERS OF THE WIDGET ARE THERE FOR YOU TO PROBE!!!!!!