The Difference

Kenneth Richard Samples, in Without a Doubt:

It has been said that 'Christianity is Christ.' This statement means that Christ is the center and heart of the historic Christian faith. The gospel message is all about the person, nature and work of Jesus Christ. In contrast, if Buddha or Confucius, for example, were taken away from their respective religions, the religions would retain the essence of their moral instruction. However, take the person of Christ away from Christianity and nothing distinctive remains.

What Hath Happened Here

I try not to allow myself to use my radio show or this blog as just an outlet for my whining. There are enough bloggers and radio hosts (very successful ones) that do such things. However, I need to use this space to really sort out what all took place last night.

- The championship game turned into the equivalent of a girls' JV basketball game. I wouldn't say this out of respect for the chicas, but several individuals of the female variety agreed with me. So, I guess its ok then? What an awful game. Painful to watch, devoid of excitement or anything resembling flow. Neither team looked like they cared about running an offense or setting what those interested in the game know as a "screen." It's like they got into the 70,000 seat football stadium with the raised court and concluded, "screens and rolls just will not work in this environment."

- I would love to go to Reliant Stadium to watch a football game. It looks gorgeous and very very impressive. I have zero desire to go watch a basketball game in the same environment. Even if I lived in Houston, I think I'd rather travel all the way up to The Barn (Williams Arena, on the University of Minnesota) to watch a game than go to Reliant. I wasn't at the game, so I can't really say first-hand whether or not the game atmosphere was awful, but I experienced something similar on a much smaller scale in high school. Up until my senior year, we had played games in a 'cracker-box' gymnasium. It was hot, cramped and falling apart. And it was awesome for a big basketball game. You could feel it. Excitement was abound...it was jam packed and it was loud. We moved into the bright, shiny new gymnasium my senior year. It lacked that great game feel. I feel like a final four game at the Jon Huntsman Center (a perfect old-school basketball arena) or even an NBA arena would have that huge basketball game feel. The football stadium is difficult for players to shoot in and its just awkward.

- After the game, Jim Gray interviewed Bill Walton on Westwood One. I thought Bill Walton couldn't be more annoying when I was young. Then he left. And I missed him. I don't think I'm alone. Hearing the silly and over-the-top (although sometimes incredibly honest and accurate) things that come from his mouth was delightful. "Goodness, gracious sakes alive" and "you have to be sad for the game of basketball tonight." Right on, Bill. Horrrrrrrrrendous.

- I maintain that players should either go to college for at least 3 years or skip the thing altogether. The major programs are getting killed by very talented players that stay for a year or two and then move on to the NBA to be mediocre. There are exceptions, such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin, but for the most part, there are no longer great TEAMS. There are great players on teams, but the teams themselves are weak, as we've seen in this tournament. And the weak teams are creating a very sub-par product. The play has been relatively ugly for the most part, even if the games have been close.

- Jim Nantz lost nearly all respect that many had for him as an announcer. The two canned and prepared lines were abysmal. Top Dogs in 2011? Best in show? Are you kidding me? He spent two days thinking of that. Thank goodness for announcers like Al Michaels, who, when asked how he comes up with catchphrases would say that he has no catchphrases and doesn't think of lines to say beforehand. Everything is spontaneous. One of the worst things a sportscaster can be is cute. Jim Nantz was trying to be cute. It was ugly.

Ok, that's better. Thankfully all of this doesn't really matter. The sun came up today, it's going to be mid-50's in Minneapolis (HEAT WAVE!), baseball is starting up, and, oh, right, it is just sports. All is well.