Possession Arrow Goes to the Jump Ball
This may not seem like the timeliest subject in the world now that March Madness is over (SUCK it, Michigan!), but I wanted to weigh in on the possession arrow/jump ball debate after receiving a few dozen fan emails about it. If you’ve read much of my basketball writing in the past, you’ll probably be able to guess which side I come down on when it’s a conflict between college and the pros. But I don’t just support the jump ball because it’s how they do it in the NBA! Getting your hands on the rock and stopping the play is a defensive feat, and it should be rewarded as such, with the guaranteed possibility that your team gets the ball back. It kills me every time I see a team force a tie up, then have to settle right back into their defensive stances like nothing even happened. Proponents of the possession arrow claim that it gives too big an advantage to taller players and better leapers, but since when do we punish height and athleticism in basketball? That’s the name of the game!
Masters and Commander
It’s a good thing that Tiger is back and stop saying it isn’t! (He says yelling at an invisible opponent in the mirror.) There are certainly plenty of other pundits who are lauding the return of the most popular golfer ever to the sport’s biggest stage, but the fact that there are substantial corners of the Internet complaining about this is baffling to me. Yes, I am aware that Woods is not exactly an outstanding role model for our kids with his history of infidelity. Yes, he is a decade past his prime, no longer anywhere near his world-beating peak. But the guy’s mere presence in a major is enough to move the dial to a greater degree than any other golfer in history. Look at TV ratings, tournament purses, equipment, paraphernalia. By just about any metric, never was golf as popular as it was during Tiger’s peak. I suppose I can understand your indignation if you are a purist, because attention is being taken away from young stars like Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama. But a rising tide lifts all boats, right? Anyway, congrats to champion Patrick Reed!
Last week’s issue got quite a bit of feedback on social media, so I’d like to end this week’s “Bleacher Creature” by addressing a few points. First, there were a couple of sentences in my rant about Michigan that didn’t make any sense. Totally my bad. I uploaded an unedited draft into our software, and I make this solemn promise to my adoring fans that it won’t happen again. Second, in response to some of the accusations made against me after I wrote an Improve TU piece about reconsidering our school’s D1 status, I’d like to clarify that I do, in fact, enjoy sports! Of all the flak that I got online, this is the only thing that furrowed my brow a bit. Some of my favorite memories at this school are tied to football and basketball games, and I don’t think you could read any of my work and come away with the impression that I’m not fairly passionate about athletics. That said, I’m not so selfish as to think that just because I personally enjoy something, it’s automatically the best course of action for everyone else. If TU determined that D1 wasn’t the best course of action for the future, I would still support it, and I would hope other students and alumni would as well! And that’s really all I was advocating, that the school take a closer look at their participation in an increasingly costly business.
Finally, all the hullabaloo over my apparently inflammatory article had some angry alums calling for my head. Well, you guys got your wish. I’ve been ousted, canned, dishonorably discharged, the whole nine yards! Lucky for me, there was a wide-open Editor-in-Chief position just waiting to be filled.