Monday, August 30, 2010

In Praise of Excellence

I've watched as much as possible of Team USA's preparation and entry into the 2010 FIBA World Championships.  (fyi it's basketball)  Many fans aren't interested because most of our opponents are severely overmatched, making those games blowouts.  I love blowouts!  We need close games every so often to keep the tension alive, but a blowout allows players to show the limits of what they can push themselves to - Durant tapping a steal around his man and taking it all the way down the court for a 2-handed slam, Iguodala stealing the ball before the ballhandler knows he's there.  When winning's out of the equation, they can focus on their basketball art and give us the elemental thrill that first made us love the game.  The losing team gets to do the same as their best players take more initiative and wow us.  In a true blowout, even the backups strut their stuff.

I'd never want a season without close games - any champion needs to be tested to earn the title - but a few blowouts make for relaxed enjoyment as well, and a reminder of what makes the best players so excellent.

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