Friday, August 28, 2009

On Basketball

Since my dear friend Bryan Haas has taken tonight as an opportunity to break away from his usual sports blogging to talk about something serious, like baseball.

Well not to be upstaged, tonight I shall be sharing with you my revolutionary theories on the third most-American sport, basketball.

Now to begin, I would like to point out that I may appear biased in this tirade. Yes, dear readers, I was by birth technically a Jewish child and thus I am incapable of playing basketball, dancing without lifting chairs over my head and paying full retail price for anything. Yes, the only way you'll catch me at a Lakers game is if A) I was invited and couldn't get out of it, B) was given tickets I could not scalp or C) I have recently purchased the team straight-up cash.

But I am not the petty man I may seem. No, I have caused my share of upsets in high school's Knock-Out games. (Possibly the lowest time in gym class history: when children actually WANTED to play dodgeball.) More importantly, I have in fact drawn all attention into a chaotic room to myself before demanding respect and calling a perfectly executed lob toss in Beer Pong while yelling the requisite baritone "KOBE!" Clearly, I am no provincial man.

So yes, basketball. These are my beliefs on basketball:

  1. It really does go on too long
  2. The scoring is ridiculous
  3. Improvement in the caliber of the average player has made the game too easy

Now all of these points actually stand together. The foremost and the latter inevitably lead to the middle issue. Think about it. When a game scored by ones, twos and the occasional three routinely ends with both teams reaching triple-digit tallies something has gone horribly wrong.

I will not argue this. I will also not claim that "only the last 15 minutes are important." That's far too arbitrary. I would just as soon suggest subtracting all points scored within randomly generated spans of time roughly equal to three-fourths of the game. Every moment is important. Do I merely suggest fewer moments. No, because frankly I would not want to watch less than 60 minutes of a game anyway.

So how do we fix this? The players can easily score 100 points in 60 minutes, but we cannot reduce the length of a game. The obvious solution?

Making It Harder to Score

Sheer brilliance!

Stage 1: Raising the Hoop
- At least 25%. This is just common sense. Basketball players used to be 5'9". They also used to not allow "coloured folk" in the gyms, but as was the case then, sometimes change is needed. Taller, more athletic players means the game needs to be retooled for a more competitive show. "But, Dave," you ask, "isn't that too unfair? I mean the hoop isn't much bigger than the ball! Shooting higher isn't realistic!" Well, I'm right there with you. We need to compensate the compensation.

Stage 2: Biggering the Hoop - Yeah, obviously the target has to be bigger if we're moving it farther a way and throwing the same sized projectile at it by hand. I'm not a monster. Think something around the scale of a smallish hula hoop. Something very young children might have.
"But, Dave!" I hear you cry again, and frankly it's getting fucking annoying, "Have you not stolen all the fun from the sport? Is scoring now not harder and less frequent?" And again I say I am thirty-seven steps ahead of you.

Stage 3: Slamball Wasn't All Bad - Remember when they tried to legitimize those crazy engineering frat boys who built a basketball court with trampolines and beat the hell out of each other flying through the air? Yeah, I didn't know what it was really called either. Thank you, Google. Anyway, in spicing up the old sport they actually had the right idea. What we need to do is make basketball harder, but more exciting. I propose not going the way of the Natty Ice drinkers, but the route of the ancient Mesoamericans who basically invented the game that became both basketball and lacrosse. And kinda soccer. They were kind of awesome.

No, we shall not kill the losing team (or their captain, not even on special holidays, Like the Final Four). What we will do is reintroduce a primal and dangerous quality to the game. WE SHALL SET THE HOOPS ABLAZE. WITH FIRE. I'm serious. Increase hoop diameter 30%, raise hoop height 25%, then set the sucker on fire. HOW IS THIS NOT AWESOME. You can't tell me. Because it is. WHAT. NOW.

The trampolines in the floors I've given up on.

For those interested, my new project is tackling exactly the opposite problems of low scores and desensitizingly copious amounts of violence, that last haven of white sportsmanship since Tiger Woods broke the color barrier associated with actually caring about golf: hockey.

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