Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hoops History

It's impossible to objectively measure the greatest basketball player of all-time. But is it possible to measure the most successful individual b-baller of all-time? Here are the contenders:

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
3 NCAA championships
10 NBA Finals
6 NBA Championships
6 MVPs
2 Scoring Titles
1 Rebounding Title

Wilt Chamberlain
6 NBA Finals
2 NBA Championships
4 MVPs
7 Scoring Titles
11 Rebounding Titles
1 Assists Title

Bill Russell
2 NCAA championships
11 NBA Finals
11 NBA Championships
5 MVPs
4 Rebounding Titles

Michael Jordan
1 NCAA championship
6 NBA Finals
6 NBA Championships
5 MVPs
10 Scoring Titles

Magic Johnson
1 NCAA championship
9 NBA Finals
5 NBA Championships
3 MVPs
4 Assists Titles

Monday, February 27, 2006

A.E. Housman's poetry and rooting for the Minnesota Vikings (and what to expect from this blog)

Let me express to you, through the poetry of A.E. Housman, what it is to be a Viking fan.

"Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now"

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
Tosee the cherry hung with snow.

In this poem, the poet appreciates the beauty of the cherry tree in spring; alas, he recognizes that as time passes, he has fewer and fewer opportunities to appreciate this beauty. He is 20. If he lives to be the average age of 70, he only has 50 more springs to experience the cherry tree blooming in spring.

And this is how I feel each year when the Vikings are eliminated from Super Bowl contention. Another year gone; another year without a Super Bowl. The Vikes have never won a Super Bowl; they have a wonderful and glorious and mythical past, and yet, they have not won the big one that can redeem the entire history of the franchise (as well as bringing joy to the fans of Minnesota who have witnessed just two pro championships since the Lakers moved). And now, I must wait at least another year to experience the transcendent glory that would be a Vikings' Super Bowl championship.

Of my three score years and ten, twenty-five will not come again. And take from seventy Super Bowls twenty-five, that only leaves me forty-five to see the the Vikes attempt to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

And I assure you, every single day of my life I consider the likelihood that I will die without ever seeing the Vikings win a championship.