Columns are like your kids. Just because you love them doesn't mean everybody else does. Sometimes it doesn't mean anybody else does. To the inbox:
ON THE COLUMN ABOUT THE SUDDENLY DILUTED HABIT OF RUSHING THE COURT IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL WHEN IT'S NOT REMOTELY RUSH-WORTHY:
I think your rules for storming the court are a little over-ambitious. Example: UMass v. UConn, 2004 ... storming the court completely justified. UMass hadn't done squat in 10 years since the Marcus Camby fiasco destroyed the entire program. UConn, ranked seventh at the time, was coming off a national championship the year before. We won on a layup with four seconds left. My best friend got his wallet stolen ON THE COURT and yet he'd never regret it in a million years.
-- Mitch (Tyngsboro, Mass.)
If you read the Iron Clad and Unbreakable Rules of Rushing the Court, you'll see that your RTC that day was technically a violation of the third rule: The team you just beat was not in the top three. But... being as UConn is a clear and present rival, and you guys have been generally left-out-milk bad ever since Julius Erving was there, and it was the first time you'd beaten UConn in 19 years, and it was tighter than a DMV clerk's smile (61-59), I'll allow it. Besides, your buddy lost his wallet, so there's some karma there. Don't know how he went on with life without his six bucks, his Subway card and his two-year-old condom.
You sound like an old fuddy duddy who just does not want the kids to have any fun. You're saying they don't deserve to have that much fun or be that happy because REPORTERS LIKE YOU have deemed the team to be in the top 25 or whatever. Get over yourself. Nothing wrong with college kids celebrating their team's victories. Fun and excitement are what make college sports great!
-- Terp Fan (whereabout unknown)
OK, here's an actual reason you can't have an RTC every other Thursday. People can get stampeded. Players can get hurt. Someday, somebody's going to get killed. In 2005, I wrote about a high school kid in Tucson, Ariz., named Joe Kay who made the last-second shot to win a championship. All the students came flooding out, tried to pick him up, and dropped him, leaving him paralyzed. Does that qualify as something "wrong" to E-MAILERS LIKE YOU?
Since you have laid down these rules, I was wondering: When was the last legitimate game that deserved a court storming?
-- Sam Yoshida (Provo, Utah)
Three rush-worthy games from this season:
• College of Charleston upsets North Carolina, 82-79, on Jan. 4. First time Charleston beat a ranked team in 12 seasons.
• Louisville beats Syracuse, 78-68. This falls under the Official Exceptions to the Unbreakable and Iron Clad RTC Rules: Your arena is closing down forever after the game. This was the last one ever at Freedom Hall.
• Northern Iowa shocks Kansas in Round 2 of the NCAA tournament, 69-67, on Ali WillStrokeTheNet's bodacious 3-pointer with 30 seconds on the shot clock. Unfortunately, this game was in Oklahoma City, meaning only the bench got to RTC. Therefore, I'll allow Northern Iowa one free RTC in its first home game next season, win or lose. Knock yourself out.
ON THE COLUMN ABOUT GREG WISE, THE HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACH IN HOUSTON WHO PRESSES WITH 100-POINT FOURTH-QUARTER LEADS:
Leave Wise alone. If the other teams don't like being embarrassed, instead of whining about it the other teams' coaches should spend some time game-planning, re-evaluating there offseason program and coaching up there kids. If you go in to play [Yates] and you know you are going to be pressed the whole game, come up with something. Good for Coach Wise and Yates.
-- Randolph Warren (Greenbelt, Md.)
There is no sportsmanship nor decency nor manners in beating a team by 123 points. John Wooden himself couldn't come up with a game plan for a mismatch like that. The honorable thing for Wise to do is stop shooting, stop pressing and have his team work on its defense and passing game. As for you, Randolph, you need to work on spelling the word "their."
In Washington state several years ago, a similar situation was happening with a girls basketball coach. With a few seconds left in a record-breaking game, the opposing coach called timeout and forfeited the game. The final score in all forfeits was entered as 1-0. Individual stats were also eliminated. Food for thought!
-- Patrick Leonard (Olympia, Wash.)
That's genius. I'd love to see an opponent of Yates do that next year if Wise keeps up his seminars in classlessness.
Maybe you should do a follow up, explaining how Yates won the [Texas 4A] state title [on March 13] in a close game, 92-73. Ironically, the score doesn't sound close, but the game was tied at 70, before Yates went on a 22-3 run. By using all 15 players and staying consistent to their style of play, their reserves were able to produce when it truly mattered. I won't, however, hold my breath for that column.
-- David Moore (Houston)
Did you check the box score of that game? Of the 92 points Yates scored, 91 were by starters. You call that "producing"? Congrats to Yates for winning the state title, but Wise owes every one of those teams he humiliated on the way to it a personal apology.
ON EVERYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN:
March 15 was LSU's pro day. Among the festivities, the media members were invited to participate. We arrived at 8:30 to run the 40, do bench reps of 95 pounds and test our vertical jump. The big story was my boss, Derek Ponamsky of Bayou Bengals Insider.com, pulling his hamstring, then falling and breaking his collarbone while running the 40. … It shocked everyone, from the media to coach Les Miles. It was simply stunning.
-- Jay Potter, Staff Writer, Bayou Bengals Insider
Well, since you brought it up, here it is, one of the least heroic moments in sports journalism history.
Have you ever thought about writing on women's tackle football? I am a player for the California Quake -- an L.A. team. The women's game is different, but exciting nonetheless. No spoiled T.O.'s here. Come and take a look -- you may become as hooked as I am!
-- Linda Reid (Los Angeles)
Have I ever "thought" about writing on women's tackle football? You must be joking. I PLAYED tight end on the world champion SoCal Scorpions of the now defunct WPFL league in 2007. OK, I played for only two days. And only in practice. And, actually, it was only one day because I got hit so freaking hard by a couple of their 280-pound linewomen that my back actually felt like a nest of scorpions had crawled inside my lumbar, causing me to see an emergency chiropractor. Which meant I had to retire my sports bra and watch in street clothes the next day. Still, I know a lot of the Scorpions felt my one day in their uniform taught them volumes about pro football and inspired them to the championship. Not that they've ever said that.
It's all in my coming book, "Sports from Hell, My Two-Year Search for the World's Dumbest Competition" (May 4, Doubleday/ESPN Books). And I'd like to say women's pro football isn't dumb at all. I mean that. Sincerely. Please don't come and hurt me again.
ON MY RETIRING MY BI-WEEKLY COLUMN AT ESPN THE MAGAZINE TO DO MORE INTERNET WRITING AND MORE "SPORTSCENTER":
I am sorry to hear, AGAIN, that you are not going to be writing your column. I don't read SI with the same excitement anymore because you are gone and now I am losing you again in this venue. Your strength is in the way you write, not the way you look (sorry, don't take that the wrong way).
-- Gerry Freudenberg (Clinton, Iowa)
This happened before and now it's happening again. People just don't read all the way through. As I wrote, I have NOT quit my column. I have only quit writing the magazine column. My ESPN.com columns and "Go Fish" will still post every week online. Same thing happened when I left Sports Illustrated. It seems to be a generational Internet-savvy thing. Once every two or three days, someone over 40 will come up and say, "I can't BELIEVE you quit writing. You were pretty good!" And then some young guy will come up a little later and say, "Hey, have you been writing long? You're pretty good!"
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