30 October 2011

A Fresh Endeavour

Throughout time, it has been said that trying new things is spiritually healthy for a person who might be stuck in self-claimed monotony. Whether such a fresh endeavour be sampling some unexplored, culinary dish or shipping off to Papua New Guinea, one could argue that seeking out opportunities to break from spells of boredom is good and natural, particularly for a younger person. This God-fearing author is content with his life as a graduate student of theology. However, he currently has ample time to spare towards unexplored and potential hobbies. Although he does not possess a weak interest in N.C.A.A. Men's Division I basketball (more commonly, and perhaps unfairly, referred to simply as 'college basketball,' which unintentionally disrespects everyone in Divisions II and III), he is admittedly naïve as a writer of the sport. It is fitting that an opportunity to explore such a possibility has arrived as he seeks to hone his slowly-blossoming abilities as a writer of any sort. As the writer has merely recently begun writing on a serious level, being a student of pure and advanced mathematics for a number of years, he craves any given opportunity to improve his skills as a prospective writer. After all, as Epictetus once said, "if you wish to be a writer, write." With a great chance to further his penmanship, this author chooses to, well, write.

At this point, it would be all but ludicrous to not elaborate on this 'opportunity' this writer has been sounding off about. Well, a fellow by the name of Kyle Whelliston, a virtual acquaintance of the author, is a proficient writer of the happenings in 'college basketball,' but by deliberately paying essentially no attention to such teams as Ohio State or Mississippi or North Carolina or Kansas. In other words, he writes on the season strictly from the point of view of the teams from the 'Other 24' conferences, which excludes the following conferences: Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference-USA, Mountain West, Pacific-12, and Southeastern (Gonzaga, Memphis, and Xavier are counted as 'exceptions,' due to their consistent success). One of his arguments in support of such a view can be found through his exposition on a concept called The Red Line. All of this information is pertinent to understand the opportunity, which is called The 800-Games Project (A need-to-know summary can be found here, courtesy of the Big Apple Buckets blog). As a subscribed member for the eighth season of The Mid-Majority, the writer is obligated to participate in the Project, which means that like Mr. Whelliston, the author shall attend a number of eligible games throughout the season and shall then write and submit an official recap of each game. To avoid the mundane format of a recap such as a reader might read at The Worldwide Leader in Sports, a recap written by this author shall be like an essay, that is the game itself shall be the essence, the meat of the essay, but literary and philosophical references shall serve as delicious garnishes, which make that meat taste delectable. Together, the set of recaps serves as a double-fold opportunity to further his pathetic prospects as a writer and to experience the life of a basketball writer.

As the eligible teams have been posting their schedules on their respective athletic websites, the author has been assembling his personal schedule, budgeting what petty funds he has available for travel costs and game tickets, and weighing how many, and which, games to attend. Although the preferred minimum is five games, the author is planning to attend between five and nine games. The tentative schedule can be found below:

Friday, 18 November 2011 (Game 453): Boston College at Holy Cross (7.30 p.m. EST)
Sunday, 4 December 2011 (Game 1165): Maine at Rhode Island (2.00 p.m. EST)
Wednesday, 7 December 2011 (Game 1226): Virginia Tech at Rhode Island (7.00 p.m. EST)
Saturday, 17 December 2011 (Game 1560): Villanova at Saint Joseph's (8.00 p.m. EST)
Saturday, 21 January 2012 (Game 2788): Quinnipiac at Bryant (4.00 p.m. EST)
Saturday, 27 January 2012 (Game 3005): Dartmouth at Brown (7.00 p.m. EST)
Saturday, 4 February 2012 (Game 3257): Temple at Rhode Island (2.00 p.m. EST)
Friday, 24 February 2012 (Game 3963): Princeton at Harvard (7.00 p.m. EST)

No matter whichever portion of the above schedule is fulfilled for this adventure, readers can expect to find various types of entries published in this blog. Such posts will include official game recaps (which will also appear at T.M.M.), statistical analyses of eligible teams and conferences throughout the season, a projection of team races to be released around New Year's Day, photographic albums from the games ('Off the Road,' a la Kerouac), and miscellaneous notes from the more time-consuming travels (such as the flight to Philadelphia in mid-December). The author does admit to being somewhat of a perfectionist. With that in mind, the original intent of this particular blog was to house official game recap submissions to The Mid-Majority's website and nothing more. However, the result of such an intent would be the presence of a dark cloud of incompleteness, which would hover over this blog. In the opinion of the writer, given the small number of games to be attended in proportion to the numbers of games to be played over the course of the season, along with the spacing of time between the likeliest of games to be attended by this author, this blog with recaps alone would be like an unfinished piece of art with a semblance of potential to be beautiful. Ergo, it is merely right to chase away that dark cloud and complete that painting with diligence.

As the author has attempted to explain, the primary purpose of this blog is to house the writer's contributions to The 800-Games Project. With that having been conveyed, it would be right to mention other avenues by which to follow this intriguing Project which Mr. Whelliston has assimilated. Now, Mr. Whelliston is a frequent user of Twitter, specifically to 'live-tweet' games which he personally attends. The Mid-Majority can be found here: @midmajority. Technically, Mr. Whelliston is using this Project as a way to take a sabbatical year, so to speak. Having stated that, it would be better to follow The 800-Games Project here: @800GP. Additionally, the author may use his own Twitter account to keep tabs on the season as it unfolds. Although the author is proudly old-fashioned, he is willing to compromise with the technologically-savvy world that he lives in not only with this blog, but also through his Twitter account.

When the author learned of this Project in early March 2011, he knew that he had a fine chance not only to improve as a writer, but also to explore the silly concept of being a writer of college basketball. Now, the author calls the idea of writing on the sport to be 'silly' because he merely recently had an interest in any sport. The spark that lit the dynamite that is the onset of this particular interest was provided by an odd excitement created by the box score of the 2007 national semifinal match between North Carolina and Georgetown. From that, the prospect of having at least a casual interest in the sport became a reality once 1 November 2007 had passed. Having read the works of Mr. Whelliston, pertinently on financial issues with the sport ('Our Game,' as he calls it), and having seen the beautiful barnstorming through the past two tournaments by Butler, the author is convinced that absolutely any team in Division I can legitimately compete for a national championship. A team such as Texas-Pan American is not in Division I simply to middle about. That team is in Division I to win a championship, no matter how truly ridiculous of an idea that may seem to anybody. North Carolina, Kansas, Butler, and Texas-Pan American are all Division I teams. Logically, they are in Division I to win the Division I national title. As Mr. Whelliston would point out, North Carolina and Kansas have more realistic shots at actually winning national titles simply because of the root of all evil, that is money (cf. I Timothy 6.10), which flows through a combination of the assembly of a following through amassing national titles quicker than other teams and subsequent interest by television stations to sign such a successful team to an outlandish contract to flaunt its corporally-degraded substance.

As the author would indicate, the purpose of such a project is to personally witness a number of matches between 'obscure' teams of collegiate students that play simply out of the love of 'Our Game.' Although the occasional student hones his exceptional athletic abilities precisely enough to produce results beyond the expectations of everyone and subsequently sign a professional contract with a basketball club (e.g. former Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin, now with the National Basketball Association's Golden State Warriors franchise), a vast majority of the students are truly student-athletes, working thoroughly to ensure they have read a selection from Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights' before perfecting that free-throw stance. As Mr. Whelliston would aptly state here, Our Game embodies 'All of Us > Each of Us.' Although the author must wait until 18 November to contribute to The Project, he shall do so with patience and excitement. Finally, he hopes that readers shall enjoy the season by his writings.

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