As Final Four Fevah grips the land, mea culpa: I’m not a big college hoops fan; in fact, I confess with burning shame that I’ve never watched a game all the way through, much less filled out a bracket. But then I’m also one of only four or five living North American White Guys who has never played golf or gone skiing, either. Is this my Third Strike? Time to hand in my Polo shirts and middle-class honky credentials?
Anyway, even though I thought Gonzaga was a cheese, Siena a crayon and Robert Morris a Victorian author, I was moved by NYT syndcol Stanley Fish’s piece on a lifelong love of basketball. He’s got some deep thoughts about the game here, but late in the piece, Fish quotes Olympic swimmer Pablo Morales on “that special feeling of getting lost in focused intensity.” Fish goes on, speaking for every weekend athlete:
The marvel is that focused intensity can be achieved even in the act of failure, even by someone who knows what to do but most of the time can’t quite do it. And it is for that intensity — not its object or its goal — that one plays, for in those moments of surrender to the game all one’s troubles, all one’s strivings, all one’s petty irritations fall away. And if, occasionally, you actually do set the hard pick or deliver the perfect pass or make the improbable shot, well, that’s just icing on the cake.
I still don’t know why they’d let someone bring a pick onto a basketball court, but if the players are feeling half of what Fish describes, I envy them.