Monday, February 20, 2006

Open Letter To the Syracuse Men's Basketball Team

Lazy Bitches,

So... who's your dealer?

No, I'm not talking about Steroids. I wish I was. In fact, if I could get you some steroids, would you take them? I know steroids cause unprovoked displays of anger and the like. Anger is an emotion, and it would be nice to see one of those once in awhile.

I'm not talking about steroids, I'm talking about pot. Weed. Mary-Jane. Whatever you want to call it.

With apologies to G-Mac and Matt Gorman, the rest of you guys have all the symptoms. You're lazy; your eyes are bloodshot and half-closed; your reaction time is equivalent to Spiccoli. In other words, you're pathetic. Watkins and Devendorf disgust me, and Roberts shows up for six minutes a game. Nichols shows up for 10 minutes a game, but only after missing 10 shots first.

Is it that Jamaican-looking dude with the dreadlocks on the end of the bench? Who is that guy?

I'm watching my TiVo'ed Louisville game from Saturday, a game you ultimately won. You look impressive in the second half... where has that been all year?

I'm not saying I expect you to win every game. You guys played UConn, Nova and Pitt in a span of a week. At the time that was three top-ten teams. I didn't expect a win out of those, but a typical Syracuse team would have come away with one. You guys didn't even make those interesting.

Listen. If J.J. Redick can get off 10 threes a game, how come we can't get Gerry looks like that? It's called a screen, people. A screen. And when you cut off one, you don't swing wide like your teammate is a sweaty mess like the shirtless guy from Along Came Polly. You cut shoulder to shoulder. That's junior high basketball, and you guys don't know it?

Let's not even get in to the stupid plays. The bad passes, bad shots, lousy ballhandling, dumb fouls, defensive brainfarts, poor rebounding, charges, poor screens, and of course, the ungodly, disgraceful free-throw shooting. I play in a basketball league with a bunch of engineers, and most of the guys in the league shoot free throws way better than you guys. (Again, sorry you have to see this Gerry.)

Worst free-throw shooting team in the Big east. Worst offensive team in the Big East.

But Gerry. Love you baby, you are the Orange. You'll always be my boy. But you're trying too hard. Let the game come to you. I know your 3-point percentage has fallen off, and that's because when you do get an open look you're so shocked you can't concentrate. But I am disappointed in you. You should take control of this team more. You need to grab these guys by their man-tackle and go Ike Turner on them. And you need to cut off their weed supply.

That reminds me. Hey Eric. Shut the F&*K up and play basketball, you freakin freshman. You could be a great one eventually, but you're not yet. Don't act like you are.

At the end of the day though, there's really only one person to blame for this team's lackluster play. That's Jimmy B.

Jimmy, I'm pretty confident you're the worst coach in the Hall of Fame. You've got 700 wins because you can recruit well, and you've got a National Championship because you got lucky and had all the right pieces. Carmelo, Hakim, Gerry, Pace, Edelin, those guys could just ball. That's why you cut down the nets in ought-three.

The best coaches adapt as the game goes on. Jimmy, you make a plan and stick with it, come hell or high-water. With a guy who has your resume, how come not a single person I know—not one—thinks you're an outstanding coach?

Maybe you guys suck because they castrated you this year, by changing the name from the masculine “Orangemen” to a pretty color—or worse, a citrus fruit.

(Though I got nothin' but love for my boy Otto.)

So guys. You're looking good right now against Louisville. Let's keep the momentum going against West Virginia tonight. They're a better team than you, I know. They shoot better, play better defense, play like a team the way you guys have only read about. No one is picking you to win, certainly not me. I don't think you can pull it off. I don't think you have a chance.

Still, I'll be rooting for you, because my blood is Orange, even before it's Yankee Navy or Giant Blue.

And I'm still paying my damn loans, after all.

So go ahead and prove me wrong, guys. Pull one out of the hat tonight.

Because right now, I've got three letters for you:

N. I. T.

Still a fan—even though you guys drive me nuts,
Bill Beard
Class of '99

***

So you may have noticed that BEL took a bit of break over the past few weeks. I want to apologize, but I have good reason: I got laid off. I was already looking for a new job, so I'm not upset, other than the potential financial ramifications. But I already have an interview lined up, so no worries. Sorry about the lack of columns, I know you're disappointed, but I've been busy looking for a new job, so I'm sure you'll understand. I would have thought I would have had more free time, but that's not how it's been, strangely.

-Some thoughts over the past few weeks:

-It's too late to comment on the Super Bowl I suppose, but how about the commercials? The Sprint one with security protection on the cell phone where the guy chucks it at the guy's head; the Ameriquest ones with the defibrillator pads and the fly, “That killed him”; and the Diet Pepsi ones... oh wait, those sucked. Though the Pepsi can was more entertaining than Jay Mohr.

-I love the Olympics. The competition, the national pride. Normally, I fall asleep during the opening ceremonies, but this year's were pretty impressive. All the dancers forming that giant ski jumper had to be one of the coolest pieces of choreography I've ever seen. Really nice job by the Italians, my hat's off to them.

-And there is nothing better than the Olympics in HD.

-By the way, special thanks to Bode Miller for making Americans look like even bigger jackasses than we actually are. As if the rest of the world didn't have enough animosity toward us in the first place. And great job by him to back up all that talk with a few quality 6th place finishes. Nike, I hope you're happy.

-That new Jordan commercial gives me chills every time I see it. Amazing orchestration. God, I love sports. I so want to be like Mike.

-In the “You're sure not to care” category my basketball league team is 9-1, after winning 9 straight, with three scorers in the top 10. Last week, we had only four guys show up, and still won. My friend Jesse dropped in a Morrison-like 37 and I poured in a G-Mac-like 24, which could have easily been 30+ if I had hit a 3 in the first half or made more than 50% of my free throws. Maybe I shouldn't be ripping on Cuse free-throw shooting after a performance like that, but then again, I'm still paying students loans and wasn't getting a scholarship, so screw them.

-And last, but not least, Pitchers and Catchers have reported for many teams. So look for me to ramp up to the heart and soul of this column soon.

Thanks for your patience over the past few weeks.

Bill Beard is an independent writer who made a lot of jokes about getting paid for this, and now he's living off a severance package. He can be contacted for real jobs at wrbeard@hotmail.com. He's willing to travel, but probably not to relocate, unless you're offering a job covering the Yankees or Giants. If you are, he loves you, and wants you to know it.