Basketball Without Rules

I have never been a basketball fan. College basketball is a game that I particularly dislike. The wild fanatics during March Madness drive me crazy. I could not care any less about it than I do. I can understand why the enrolled students of a school would be excited for their team. Beyond that, who cares? I have never understood why adults who never attended either college in the game have any care or concern about it whatsoever. If you didn’t go to that school, you have no horse in this race. Go find something else to cheer about.

Basketball coaches drive me nuts too. Most of the time when you see a football coach on the sidelines, he casually dressed, mumbling into a headset and looking at plays. Basketball coaches, on the other hand, dress up in suits and stand red-faced on the side of the court screaming the whole time. What are they screaming about? Who are they screaming to? No one can hear you! And besides, if your players don’t already know how to play basketball, they shouldn’t be on the team. Sit down and be quiet.

I have a scenario in mind that would make the game of basketball actually enjoyable to watch: There should be no rules. That’s right, NO RULES!

There are so many rules and specifications in the game that I can’t imagine it would be fun to play. Traveling, palming, double-dribbling, goaltending, backcourt violations, and more. It’s too restrictive. Fouls are called at the drop of a hat. All of the particulars turn the whole event into one big choreographed dance.

I want to watch a game where there are no rules at all. Players can do whatever they want, wherever they want. If this lawlessness results in the players beating the crap out of each other, or running down the court with a chainsaw, then so be it. Now I’m interested! That would be a game I could enjoy.

2008 Beijing Olympics

I’ve been watching the Beijing Olympics this weekend. In years past, I have only mustered a passing interest in the Games. With all of the hype surrounding the 2008 Games in China this year, I decided to tune in this time around. On Friday, the opening ceremony was nothing short of spectacular.

I’ll quote Roger Ebert from an article in the Chicago Sun-Times (Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Games). Ebert writes, “I think I received the intended message: China is here, big time. The scope, precision and beauty of the production were, you will agree, astonishing.”

I’ve been home most of the weekend, and I’ve had NBC on in the background. Surprisingly, I’ve actually found myself sitting and watching a lot of the events. I’ve seen swimming, rowing, beach volleyball, biking, and gymnastics. This isn’t like me, normally, but I’m genuinely enjoying myself.

Beijing Olympic Fireworks

Super Bowl XLII

As everyone knows by now, last night the New York Giants beat the undefeated New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. It was an absolutely incredible football game. So much was on the line. It turned out to be the best sporting event I’ve ever watched on television. I typically don’t watch any sports, except for a football game once a year or so, and the Super Bowl yearly. I don’t have a favorite team, though I’d certainly root for my home team (Panthers) if they were in the playoffs, or at the Super Bowl. I like to root for the underdog, and this year the underdog won in the biggest way possible. I screamed when Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown. Go Giants! That game will be forever remembered. Absolutely amazing.

Front Page Sports News

There are plenty of sports fans out there. I must admit that am not really one of them. Therefore, I think that sports news does not belong on a newspaper’s front page. All too often, my local paper has sports headlines on the actual front page! It drives me nuts. Nobody should see scores for the NCAA basketball tournament in large print on one side and glance over to see a side-column that mentions hundreds dieing in an earthquake in another part of the world. Listen people, sports are just games. News about sports events are simply not important.

Besides, that is why newspapers have a dedicated Sports section. I say, move all such news to that part of the paper and keep it there, permanently.

It did cross my mind that perhaps it is a possible selling point to put some sports news or scores on the front page. This would only be true for newspaper vending machines where someone would walk by and see it and perhaps be more likely to buy the whole paper. But, I doubt it. Sports fans have much better options than a daily paper. With several dedicated cable ESPN channels, local broadcasts, and the Internet, sports in the paper at all is near-obsolete. By the time a sporting event is printed in the paper the following morning, the vast majority of people who care would have already known the outcome through other media sources, or probably watched the entire game on TV.

I am not advocating getting rid of the Sports section of the paper, I just wish editors would keep all such related news in that area. I suppose I can forgive the Superbowl result appearing as the main news headline on the front page, but that is one day out of the year. The rest, in my opinion, can be forgotten.