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Patrick, You Win


I was trying to think of just the right word to describe my feelings watching St John’s lose 69-66 to Georgetown Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. During the DePaul game I was angry; last night I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t sad either. I wasn’t embarrassed as some fans are when their team loses. And basketball can’t demoralize me, I’ve been demoralized since I was 14. The closest I can come is dispirited, meaning to have lost enthusiasm. It’s kind of how I feel around Candlemas, January having turned to February, months of cold and snow having come and gone and still yet needing half my wood and half my hay, because there’s still a long way till spring. It’s just, I don’t know, yuck. Because I’m watching another basketball season swirl down the toilet, as so many have swirled down the toilet before, and with no doubt many more swirling down the toilets to come. The good news is that I may have to watch the games, but I don’t have to write about them. I don’t have to rehash the mistakes and blunders and missed opportunities. I don’t have to and I’m not going to … Certainly the blame for what’s gone on this season falls on the shoulders of coach Chris Mullin. The problem isn’t – as so many gym teachers and CYO coaches would have you believe – Xs and Os and when and where time outs are called and what are ephemerally called halftime adjustments. The problem is the roster. Besides being left short handed by Lovett’s absence, the players just aren’t good enough. Ponds and Simon are bona fide big east players who’d probably start on any other team in the conference. Ahmed and Clark and Owens are okay, but each has flaws in his game. The rest are charitably not very good: Trimble’s a freshman, Yakwe is, well, who knows what’s up with Yakwe, and Alibegovic is garbage. Even with Lovett the talent is comparable to Georgetown and DePaul and Georgetown and DePaul stink. The players individual shortcomings are not all exactly Mullin’s fault, but not having enough serviceable bodies who aren’t garbage time players, that is his fault. Best case he realizes that they don’t have 10-day contracts in college basketball and learns from his mistake. Because despite the absurd calls to arms you hear – email President what’s his name and make dissatisfaction known! Fill up his mailbox and make your voices heard! Good grief, shut up.  – Mullin’s not going anywhere. He’s coach for as long as he wants to be coach, unless the big donors turn on him, and they never will. You guys who go to the games and splurge on lobster rolls gourmet hot dogs, they don’t care about what you think. That should be obvious by now …   There’s a lot of chatter about Marcus Lovett on various fan boards – and it’s rightfully a topic of conversation. It ranges from the uncharitable – they should pull his scholarship unless he plays – to the incredulous: how can he think he’s going to go from sitting on the bench of a 10-win team to a professional contract. Well, the fact is he is: he’ll go play in Europe or Turkey or somewhere and probably have a good career and make millions of tax free dollars and bang exotic women in far off locales. That said – and I don’t know how badly he’s hurt and I hope it’s not too badly – I think it’s fair to question his heart, just a little bit. Because he doesn’t seem to upset watching his alleged “family” get their heads kicked in night after night. I guess what I’m saying is he might not be who you want in the fox hole with you. You know who you want in the fox hole with you? This guy, because he’s got bigger balls.