April 16, 2009

I Love Collegiate Sports

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So we have reached the end of March Madness also known as the end of my sports happiness. The sports nation has already listened to my “One Shining Moment.” The Cinderella stories of Cleveland State and Siena have come to an end. Michigan State’s emotional stimulus package to the Detroit area has all but expired. UNC has been crowned National Champions yet again and Cornell Big Red basketball fans will have to wait another year for a possible first-round upset.
In addition, hockey’s NCAA tournament ended in frustrating fashion for Cornell fans as the Red were eliminated by some team from the middle of Minnesota. Bemidji ever heard of it? I guess I would feel better about it if I actually knew who their mascot was, where the school is located and if they weren’t such a small school to the point where they had to use Georgetown’s pep band in the Final Four. To add salt to the wound, Boston University won the whole thing.
It’s a sad time in sports for me as the only competitive college sport left to follow is men’s lacrosse. Yes, I’m fully aware that the NBA Playoffs start this weekend, that the NHL Playoffs started last night and that baseball season is almost ten games in. I don’t care. Well, I do … I’m a Yankee fan, I pull for Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul, and as removed as I am from liking the NHL, I’ll be watching MSG if the Rangers make things interesting against the Capitals.
Despite the fact that there are better players, more athletes and experienced players in the pros, I would still turn down a ticket to an NBA game in favor of a college basketball game. I don’t care how talented you are if you don’t bother to hustle up the court. I’m too competitive of a person to watch players not dive for loose balls. I have an appreciation for those who play with their hearts on their sleeves. Man, if you ever see me playing basketball in Noyes or Newman — on a good day — you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
And that’s exactly what the collegiate game is. Everything matters, every loose ball, every free throw and every drive down the court. You see chest bumping, fist pumping and everything that is wrong with the pro game today. When you watch a collegiate game, you can see real passion from the athletes. In college will you find players openly crying on the bench at the end of the season, and while it does happen for a few players in the playoffs, (Kevin Garnett’s “anything is possible!” last year comes to mind) its hard to muster up a couple of tears when you getting paid more than most people make in a year for a day’s labor. Trust me, if I’m making 4 million a year to play a sport, there won’t be too much for me to shed a tear about. Granted, if I lost in the NBA Finals it would hurt for awhile. But shortly after, I’ll hop in my 3 series, go to my seven-bedroom house and hang out with my wife (who would be an 11 out of 10 for the record) … How bad can it really get?
For the past month and a half, I have been glued to collegiate sports. I even spent a night in Dinos ignoring girls because I was watching the 6 overtime Syracuse/UConn game. I’ve spent multiple nights getting out late because I was waiting for games to finish. Failed to do a lot of homework assignments because I just couldn’t focus. And now it’s all over and I’m bored. I’ve got nothing to root for. I’d rather make some postseason predictions and just watch the games just to validate my sports expertise. With that being said, here are my picks for the NBA, NHL and MLB.

NBA: Nobody can come close to the Lakers in talent. Nobody is more skilled than Kobe Bryant and the Celtics aren’t as strong as last year. L.A. just added Andrew Bynum to sweeten the deal. With that said, I forsee Lakers in 6 games in the Finals against any contender.
NHL: I’m not going to lie. I haven’t watched enough this season to give a good prediction. So because my hometown Rangers can’t score enough goals to win, my hatred for the New Jersey Devils and my childhood fondness of the Detroit Red Wings dating back to when NHL used to be on FOX and they used to highlight the puck so you can follow it, I’ll go with Detroit.
MLB: I want to say the Yankees but I don’t think the team is injury proof, which in a 162 game season in the A.L. East is a huge factor. Nady already hit the DL today and A-Rod is well, A-Rod. This might seem crazy, but I’m going to go with the Mets. Ill take Johan Santana over any pitcher in the majors. They have three players hitting their stride and capable of MVP-quality years.