Friday, December 2, 2011

Six Years, Seven Seasons, A Man's Life - It's All Relative

Saturday evening after Hofstra had defeated Cleveland State, I was presented with a choice.  Originally, I had planned to stay and cover the Boston University vs. Rhode Island game for the 800 Games Played Project on the Mid Majority Site.  But I was very tired, under the weather, lonely for my family and I had my nephew's baptism the next morning.  So instead of watching and recapping a game on my wish list, I took the three hour drive back to New York.  

For someone who has driven ten hours to Wright State for a basketball game, staying two extra hours in Kingston seemed like child's play.  And normally, it would have been.  But there wasn't just the cold I that I had and my nephew's baptism involved in my decision to head back.  Driving home, I knew I had to be back in Mineola for sure for Monday morning.  

For the past two plus weeks starting on November 14 until this past Tuesday morning, I have been on jury duty in Mineola.  Specifically, I have been a member of a twelve person jury deciding the fate of a man charged with murder in the second degree, three counts of robbery and two other counts of criminal possession of a firearm.  We had a break over Thanksgiving weekend, so I was able to go up to Rhode Island to watch the tournament.  But I was mentally beat from the week's proceedings and still trying to recover from a cold that I had for the better part of a week.

That's why I when I wrote my recap of LIU vs. Iona, I couldn't go into details of why I was exasperated on Monday.  I was exasperated by the slowness of the proceedings, the wheels of justice.  It wasn't our jury deliberations whatsoever.  Our jury actually did an excellent job deciding the counts and there was no acrimony whatsoever. It was all the other processes, the long delays to find an open courtroom and jury room every morning.  The delays to hear testimony replayed.  When a man's life is at stake, justice should be a lot more streamlined and not have the person have to wait out their fate due to overlengthy procedures.

On December 4, 2011, it will be exactly six years that I have written this blog.  What began on a dare has become a wonderful journey to various gyms and arenas in the United States.  I have seen parts of the country that I might never have gone to had it not been for college basketball.  In the past six years, I have been to places such as Worcester, Massachusetts; Lawrence, Kansas; Charleston, South Carolina; Dayton, Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina to name just a few to watch basketball games. It's been a lot of fun, but at times, like the trip to Dayton, it's been a long and winding road.  I still don't know how Kyle Whelliston did it all these years

For eight of the past nine years, I have taken a pilgrimage to Richmond every first weekend in March to watch the CAA Tournament.  I got to see an unforgettable NCAA regional in Raleigh in March 2008.  And this past March, I got to see live my first conference championship game since 2001.   

More importantly, I have made so many friends along the way.  I consider Defiantly Dutch, aka Jerry Beach one of my good friends, even if he still won't get back to me with his answers for my blog post (yeah, Jer, I am calling you out!).  And he's a damn good writer too.  I consider Kyle Whelliston a mentor, friend and the best college basketball writer there is, outside of John Feinstein.  His work has inspired me beyond measure.

And there are others.  There's Joe Suhoski, Mr. ODU.  It turns out also he is a very good college football writer as well. Brian Mull and Mike Litos are two very good college basketball writers and I have been following their work for years.  John Templon is as good a writer as Kyle told me he was and his Big Apple Buckets site is awesome. I even have two Mid Majority mentees in Julia Prior and Michael Hadley, Mr Red Zone IUPUI, both terrific, hilarious people.

And there's good people I have got to know somewhat like Travis Mason Bushman (you are a legend and a leader, so to speak), Garrett Wheeler, Mike Greiner, Dominic Pody, Kraig Williams, Matt Cerilli, Brendan Loy (the man behind #PANIC), Guy Falotico of, the folks at CAAZone and last but not least, Gheorghe The Blog. If you are one of my followers on Twitter, I truly appreciate the support.

Writing about college basketball has opened up an entire new world for me. Though I am not accredited media, I no longer just watch games.  I cover them.  And when the official Iona Gaels twitter account acknowledges your game tweets along  with Jon Rothstein's. Matt Norlander's and Adam Zagoria's tweets, all terrific college basketball analysts and writers,  I consider it a great honor.

Six years ago, I had no idea that I would be doing any of this today.  I still don't know how long this will continue, as I noted in November of last year.   But this is now my seventh college basketball season. And this season is special.  I am now writing for two sites.   And when that 800th game recap is written, I will celebrate with everyone else who is contributing to the Mid Majority Site.

And so far, I have written nine game recaps for the 800 Games Played Project, which have been posted here as well due to Creative Commons license.   I figure I have another thirty five to forty to write this season, if all goes well. 

But last Saturday,  my better judgment overruled staying to recap another live game.  There were bigger obligations.  Deadlines and commitments as I noted last year.  

On Tuesday, we found the defendant not guilty of murder, guilty of three counts of robbery and not guilty of two counts of criminal possession of a firearm.  I truly believe our jury was thoughtful, measured and certainly unanimous in our judgment.   We epitomized the term "civic duty".

As much as I love it, college basketball is just a game.  In the grand scheme of life, six years and seven seasons pale in comparison to the past two weeks.  It was an experience that everyone should have once in their life.  And one I won't ever forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment