An example to better make my point: the day after Redskins games, men in DC stand around saying things like "I really wish Shanahan had chosen the option package on that second third down of that first drive in the third quarter. You know the one I mean. The one where McNabb flubbed his drop step slightly." The day after Hoosiers games, they say things like "Odi must have stubbed the middle finger of his right hand because his free-throw shooting was more off than usual. The stress must be getting to Tom, I could see he's had to let out his suit belt a notch. The team really needs to work on the dribble drive defense and the move on the pass, not the catch anticipation. It's handing the other team 22% from the field, on average." In Indiana these things are whispered in church. During the sermon. By 70-year-old women.
I wish I could record the rise of irreverent cries and impassioned boos and hisses that instantaneously follows an aggrieved foul so that I could play it back after an aggrieved foul of my own. Imagine it: [Age group male drafts off me then sling-shots past me.]
Anyway, we had a good time and IU lost by only 18 points to the current #2 - and only undefeated - college basketball team in the country. Going in we were pretty much assured not to break that streak, unless we cashed in all of the Santa's Wish Lists for Christmas 2011 before 2011 had even started. Instead I decided to do a little anthropological research study of Big Ten/Hoosier basketball as it compares to triathlon. Here goes...
Big Ten/Hoosiers arrive to a lit court where team employees shag their balls and stretch their legs. Also, there is a lit sign bigger than my house counting down to tip-off.
We arrive to a barely lit, eh we shall graciously call it a park. Toilet paper in the port-a-johns in a luxury. And getting to the start line before the gun goes off is your responsibility.
Big Ten/Hoosiers get a laser show to introduce the starting line-up, but only after a video montage of iconic Indiana Hoosier basketball moments. [Side Note: Any mention of Bobby Knight gets rousing applause. Tiger Woods, there is hope for you yet.]
We top out at this.
Big Ten/Hoosier tip off.
IM Louisville 2010 tip off. Seriously, I'm down there somewhere swimming.
Big Ten/Hoosiers break approximately every 2-4 minutes for 30-60 secs - "TV time outs" - during which good looking females in tight, short dresses and strapping men in gym clothes dance for the entertainment of the spectators, and probably the competitors too.
We get a "see you in 10 hours, we'll be at the bar, good bye" kiss. And we're the ones wearing tight clothing. TV time-out? Is that like when they stop filming the race while the leader uses the port-a-john?
Big Ten/Hoosiers get big flags and human pyramids.
Ok, we get flags, finish arches, and the occasional sand castle (one race in Florida). But I got nuthin' for human pyramids.
Big Ten/Hoosiers get large cardboard cut-out faces to distract them in moments of great concentration - and sometimes embarrassment.
We get this to look at in transition. Imagine how much I would enjoy looking up while putting on my running shoes and seeing Borat, Justin Bieber, or Dumbledore. Especially Justin Bieber...NOT!! [Side Note: My mother actually knows who Justin Bieber is. Her response when I squeaked in surprise, "Of course I know who Justin Bieber is, I read the internet." Loyal readers, there is either something utterly wrong with this or utterly cool about this, though I haven't decided which yet.]
And I will not even go into the band. I love all the little ditties and call-and-responses and associated arm movements and fist pumps. But for triathlon, a boom-box blasting out some AC/DC on the run course would be just fine with me, just fine.
It just goes to show you that legitimate sport can occur anywhere, under any circumstances. Many of these players probably - and Odi definitely - honed their skills on one-hoop courts and in high-school gyms from the Hoosiers era, long after the Hoosiers era was over. We do not require laser shows. We require no dancing hotties, aside from our family. As many swim starts have proven, we barely require light. We require some advance notice, a kit, some goggles, a pair of running shoes, and a bike. And come to think of it, I might just start requiring a human pyramid.