Enjoying The Show

Tuesday night some friends invited Kish and I to watch the Buckeyes play Illinois at the Schott.  We had a great time watching the Buckeyes beat up on a traditional Big Ten power.

Jared Sullinger and William Buford

I don’t know what will happen for the rest of the season or in the NCAA Tournament.  I do know, however, that this is one of the most entertaining basketball teams I’ve ever watched.  They play great defense.  They rebound well.  They can get out and run with anyone, and in David Lighty they have one of the best finishers in the college game.  They can play a slow-down game and fire away from the outside, with Jon Diebler and William Buford.  They can work the ball inside to Jared Sullinger, one of the best post position players in America.  And, with Aaron Craft, they can break a press, break down a defense on a drive down the lane, and unmercifully harass the opposing point guard with in-your-shirt defense.

Tuesday’s game was a great example of the enormous entertainment value of this team.  In the first half, Illinois shot the ball about as well as a college team can reasonably expect — at one point, the Illini were 8 of 9 from three-point land — and still the Buckeyes led by 15 at the half.  They did so because they forced turnovers and were ridiculously efficient at the offensive end, with William Buford leading the way.  In the second half, after Illinois closed the gap to 6 points, David Lighty grabbed the game by the throat and simply wrestled it into submission.  He hit threes, he made steals that led to breakaway dunks, and he took the ball to the rack, and the Buckeyes pulled away.

I really enjoy watching these guys play.  Thad Matta has produced another great team.

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Slip And Fall

We’ve reached the time of year where the ancient weather gods can’t seem to make up their minds.  It is warm one day and freezing the next.  Snow melts, but before the water evaporates it freezes again, leaving sidewalks, roads, and driveways coated with a thin sheen of ice.

It makes this the most treacherous time of year for the morning walker.  In the dim, pre-dawn hours, it is virtually impossible to distinguish a cleared asphalt walking path, where the confident walker can move with long, careless stride, from a frozen surface that even a sure-footed polar bear would hesitate to cross.  As a result, the careful walker proceeds head down, with penguin gait, scanning the immediate path ahead for patches of snow that might provide better traction and making split-second judgments about whether to risk a tentative step out onto a questionable surface.

Because — make no mistake — it is that first step that is crucial.  If you’ve ever slipped on ice, you know the feeling.  You take the step, your foot slides immediately and unpredictably, and suddenly you are grasping the air, adrenalin surging, arms waving like a person trying to fend off a bee attack, as you try to regain your balance.  (And try doing so when, in one hand, you have a leash attached to a zig-zagging dog.)  You desperately hope to avoid the horrible realization that you have failed, and you are going down.  Because when you fall, whether you land on your keister or your side, the physical impact is less significant than the fact that you feel and look like a complete idiot.

Yes, it is an exciting time of year for morning walks.