You are probably wondering what I am doing here..so am I. I am pretty computer illiterate, and an atrocious speller (even with the aid of spellcheck) but just like everyone else..we all think we have something to say and we want to be heard.
Those who know me, know that I have roughly three passions in my life (out side of my family, of course) and they are: medicine, sports and good food.
Even though my nephews laughed as I drafted Ronde Barber on to my fantasy football defense (jokes on them..he had a pretty smash mouth year), I have consistently won the March madness basketball pool (except for last year) over the years (a force to be reckoned with) and made a strong surge at the end in my fantasy football league until my receivers failed me (thanks, TO (not sure if you were hurt or stopped playing)). In any event, I am not sure if it is the smell of spring training or the anticipation of March Madness that prompted me to start writing. It is more likely that I am just putting off other more pressing things that I need to do.
Recently as I sat with my niece behind the basket at the Georgetown-Marquette basketball game (by the way Marquette is a force to be recokned with and under rated this year), I became apoplectic when I saw Austin Freeman slow to get up off the court right before half time in a game that we were already behind. He limped off the court to the gasps of the crowd in the packed Verizon Center. Would he or wouldn’t he return?? I selfishly said to my niece, wrap him up and maybe give him some Toradol and get him back on the court. The winning streak was on the line. As the team returned to the court to warm up for the second half, Freeman was conspicuously absent. We were done…there was no coming back now. As the buzzer sounded, Freeman ran out on to the court without a noticeable limp. The crowd erupted with the chant of “Austin Freeman”. ( I couldn’t help but be reminded of a game I saw when MJ was a Wizard. MJ had a knee injury and was questionable at game time. Had I paid all this money on a ticket to see Michael Jordan and he not take the court? At the last minute to the roars of the crowd and my delightment, MJ entered the Verizon Center and proceeded to lead the Wizards to a win over the Rockets in the midst of a snow storm).
Austin Freeman is a force of nature. As Freeman goes, so goes the Hoyas. While he has had a few low scoring outings and off nights this season, his presence on the court and the anticipation of what he is capable of doing is all the team needs. When he has an off night, the first reaction is “oh, his glucose must be out of control or perhaps he is alittle acidotic.” But, the fact that he could perform as he has these past two years in the midst of being diagnosed with Type I diabetes is a testimony to his greatness. It is never an excuse and never brought up, but to live with diabetes especially at such a young age, is a burden. The need to closely monitor glucoses (fingersticking 3 to 4 times a day) and adjusting insulin doses based on the readings is a challenge that is underestimated.
At lunch recently with my nephew, we started to discuss the fall of Scottie Reynolds. What happened to this NCAA All American who wasn’t drafted by the NBA. It got me thinking about what is the difference between the play of Freeman and Reynolds, granted one is a point guard, but what is different about how they play. Scottie Reynolds was a clutch player with a great outside shot like Freeman, but why did he and the Wildcats implode that year. Freeman is a field general yet unassuming on the court, he quietly gets the job done. He looks for the open man, he plays smart. Reynolds frequently tried to be a one man army. Unfortunately, events outside of basketball influenced his play at the end of his senior season. It is about how you handle these adversities off the court (in Freeman’s case diabetes) that make you a great player. Can you adapt when “things happen to you” in particular those things that you have no control over?
Unfortunately, this brings me to Chris Wright. As I watched the replays of him lying on the court, clutching his non-shooting left hand writhing in pain, everyone knew it had to be bad. Chris Wright has come on long way over the past 2 years. I remember as a freshman during the NCAA tournament, he was concentrating on making the big play and his lack of experience actually hurt the team at that time in his career. He would frequently try to drive to the basketball only to be denied. He played with a bit of arrogance at that time and everyone wondered how he would develop and would he mature into a smart player and more importantly a team player. There is no doubt that this year he has risen to the occasion. The nights that Freeman was off, Wright stepped up with big plays and clutch shooting.
With 45 minutes to tip-off against Syracuse (senior day, to boot) and as I fill the time watching re-runs of sex and the city on the E network, I wonder how will we beat the Orangeman without Wright? We gave JT III his first win ever at ‘Cuse this year. Will Stark, the back up freshman guard, step up and have a break out game? Will Jason Clark or Hollis Thompson (both who have excellent outside shooting but are very streaky) be moved to guard position to fill the void? I think when all is said in done, the Hoyas once again will have to rely on Austin Freeman’s leadership and talent to pick the team up on his back and go forward.
I remember once as a young girl while I was sitting in the family room, my father called me to the kitchen table. He had been reading his Georgetown alumni magazine and wanted to share something with me. He pointed to an article and a picture of the new basketball coach at Georgetown. It was a picture of a tall young African-American man the name under the picture read: John Thompson, Jr. My father said with childlike excitement, I think we are in for something good. My dad was right. I only wish that he were here to see it.