Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Disappointing But Not A Disappointment

Perhaps it's uncouth to admit it, but I listen to sports talk radio quite a bit. But at some of the most seemingly appropos times, I avoid it like the plague. Like today. I'm relatively certain that there are any number of hosts, reporters, analysts, experts and fans dissecting the Illinois loss last night to North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game. I'm sure people are ripping on James Augustine for his foul problem, lamenting Luther Head's errant pass near the end, questioning the team's poor first half, rueing the crucial late misses by Head and Deron Williams, poking at Coach Bruce Weber's strategy for guarding Sean May, and even perhaps without criticizing, whining about the team's failure to win it all.

Screw that, I say (unsure about the profanity regulations of this blog site). Like any Illini fan -- including unquestionably millions more devoted than me, whether U of I students, alumni, etc. -- I watched, and rooted, and hoped they won. And showing amazing heart and resilence, they almost did. Between them, Head and Williams had great looks at four 3-point shots that could have put the Illini in the lead, or at least tied the game near the end. Unlike earlier shots that brought the Illini back from a 15 point deficit, all four shots hit the rim and bounced out.

That's, literally, the way the ball bounces sometimes. You take your best shot, and hope it goes in. The fact that it didn't doesn't diminish from the accomplishments of, and enjoyment provided by, a team of 19-21 year old men who won 37 of 39 games this season, equalling the most any college team has ever won.

It would've been great had they won, but it's not a great loss that they didn't. As some great philosopher must have once said: Enjoyment is in the experience, not the outcome.

Go Cubs.

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