Friday, March 06, 2009

Hey Mr. DJ.

Damn, the professional basketball team from MN sucks! I watched the wolves lose another one tonight (8 straight, by my count) to the L.A. Lakers. Watching the wolves play the lakers is somewhat disheartening considering only a few years ago, both teams met in the Western Conference Finals. The Wolves right now are talented, but is a mismatched group of talent. For example, Randy Foye is playing well of late for the wolves. But, he is 6'2 and should really by definition, play the PG position. A guy like Foye plays so well off the ball and he can rebound so well as a 2. In college, Foye was basically a 4 for Villanova when Jay Wright went to his vaunted four guard offense in 2006. Tonight, he missed the game because he collided with Brian Cardinal in practice. Brian Cardinal contributes nothing to the team other maybe getting chippy with the other team. The Chicago Bull play by play guy said it best about Cardinal when he said he played like the guy at the YMCA on a Sunday morning.

Being a broadcaster employed by a team in the middle of a shitty season has to be tough on a guy. Tom Hanneman and Jim Peterson are nice enough guys and as employees of team, you know that from time to time, it is tough to stay upbeat. For example tonight, the entire fourth quarter was a nothing more than a scrimmage devoid of all the "NBA, it's fantastic" pizzazz . Kobe, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom sat out the entire quarter and deservedly so; the outcome of the game was already decided. But something unexpected happened on the way to staples center and that was DJ Mbenga. The guy was a shot blocking monster. This journeyman, big eared lughead was suddenly unstoppable. Brian Cardinal had no chance down on the block against the guy. More inspiring about DJ was his life story. I learned so much about DJ in a somewhat meaningless, garbage-filled fourth quarter.

1. DJ Mbenga was born in Congo and had a very rough childhood and adolescent period.
2. DJ Mbenga speaks 7 languages.
3. DJ Mbenga didn't dribble a basketball until he was 17 years old.

Even a cold-hearted cynic like me loves good personal stories. I should preface that by saying I love good SPORTS stories. I couldn't care less about Joe Schmoe from Clontarf. But hearing about Hakeem Nicks and DJ Mbenga captures my attention immensely. It isn't my business to meddle in other people's affairs and I don't care for it when I am the butt of many jokes or a piece in the old gossip mill. Every night, we sports fan dream the same dream or variations of it. I sure would love to put on my football pads again and rededicate myself to that wonderful game. My football career was far from glorious but I would go back tomorrow if I could.

Brandon Roy is a special player. Every young athlete should watch him play at least three times. The thing that gets me about Brandon Roy is how composed he is every night. The great players are always one step ahead and Brandon Roy certainly fits that category. He may not be the quickest, fastest, or flashiest guy on the court. But he has exemplary poise. Intagibles are rare in great players because for as long as they could remember, they were the best on the court by raising their level of intensity so, coupled with their exceptional talent, they were no match for their helpless opponent. Brandon Roy gets more out of himself because he is so mature and crafty. Mental toughness is always the X factor. The great ones get to the rarified air because they refuse to "leave it at that." I remember a poster in the Baltimore Ravens locker room that said those that won't are as beneficial to a collective group as those who can't. These life lessons though were realized too late for far too many in this life.

Girls are as confusing to me as watching a dog teach a cat how to speaking Chinese. They always say they want a nice guy but they never follow through on that. Being a jerk is so easy. Having class and manners is extremely difficult. As a nice guy with an amazing air of class and dignity, I am always thrown for a loop when I see a good looking gal next to a jerk. What could she possibly see in that slimeball? Even so, I try to remain as genteel as possible. People deserve to be treated with respect and I refuse to lower myself just so I can gain the dates that Joe the Jerk receives every weekend. But, love and chivarly is nearly dead to the fairer sex. I am not sure what this future holds.


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