Everything I Know About College Basketball

Well if it were based on actual knowledge of the sport, this article--call it what you will--would already be over. Run the credits, show a cartoon, do what you have to do- we're done!
It's true. Even though I purport to write about it here,  I don't know shit from apple butter about College Basketball. 

  For the most part, sports have always been lost on me. Just never had the knack nor the interest in throwing or catching or otherwise batting around spherical objects, nor in watching others do the same. Added to my lack of aptitude and/or interest was the genetic element: being the son of a non-jock. I remember my Dad joking about he and I catching a Superbowl Sunday and wolfing down  lots of beer and pigs' knuckles!

Dad has been gone for a good while, but he still cracks me up. Beer and pigs' knuckles indeed. How much more primal can you get?! But there is something to be said for playing sports, depending on the quality of the coaching. Learning to work effectively with others, learning the value of hard work, developing  skills, and the feeling of accomplishment when you start to see those skills grow. Like my Dad, I opted for the path of music nerd, and learned some of the same things playing in bands.  

Odds are, you'll never catch me at a Superbowl Sunday event, much less eating pigs' knuckles(though I used to drink my share of beer). Football and baseball, I'm afraid, are just frequencies I don't get on my receiver. But Basketball- at least College ball- seems to be one I can tune into. 

Despite my misgivings about most team sports, I do like watching College Basketball. It's fast and fluid and at times seems like it becomes airborne. And what might be the best(or at least purest)part of my enjoyment is that I don't know a damn thing about it!

Well okay, I understand the objective of the game, of course. It's abundantly clear that each team is trying to best the other by executing baskets on their side, and preventing them from executing a basket into their own side. That's a no-brainer. What I'm blissfully unaware of are, for example, all the little infighting tricks that foul players on the opposing team. Stuff that you can pull off when the referee isn't looking- as happens in Boxing. 

And all the rankings and stats. Don't give a whit for any of that. I just like the action. Pure and simple. 

After watching a couple games just recently, a few things do emerge, do impinge on my blanket of ignorant bliss. Five players out on the court at any given time. There is generally a 'superstar' or two in every team, and they are usually Center or Point Center. The others are Guards, and normally assign themselves to one player on the opposing team. 

The team I've been watching of late are the Villanova Wildcats, out of Philadelphia. Great team, with two distinct star players: Omani Spellman and Donte DiVincenzo. DiVincenzo made some incredible shots in the two games I watched, practically the length of the court! Those are some of the magic moments that pique my interest in the sport. 

My actual training. as far as any particular course of study,  is as a musician. So I probably listen to music differently than your average Joe- that is to say, I listen for different things. Most people key in to the voice, if there's singing, and maybe the drums or guitar after that. I might listen to the bass line, or the timbral quality of the voice or lead instrument: more below-the-surface stuff. Not because my ears are any better than anyone else's, just trained differently. 

When I watch sports, it's more like most people listen to music. I catch the action, and the most salient features of the game, or just whatever attracts my attention. It might be a goofy face one of the Guards is making at someone on the opposing team, or some of the shenanigans involved in passing the ball from one team member to another. It's sometimes a pretty intricate process getting that ball into the basket. 

As I watch, despite my wish to preserve the bliss of ignorance, I'm picking up more facts- which I hope don't corrupt the experience. There is a time limit, called the Shot Clock, each time one team or the other has possession of the ball. Didn't know that before. Also, the free throw business happens, I think, when someone is fouled. It's a sort of redemption for the foul. 

Looking forward to watching my next College Basketball game. As much as I love facts and figures(and the more obscure, the better), it's one of my mindfully mindless experiences. I just like the action, and hope to keep it that way. 



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