Hyperbole is a funny thing. You know, when folks say the thing they saw last is the greatest or worst thing ever. It pretty much dominates the way in which sports gets covered these days. I can’t change it, you can’t change it, nor can the mighty Thor do a single thing about it.
We pretty much have to accept that hyperbole is here for the foreseeable future and the only options we have is to choose how we go about consuming our sports coverage. Whether that be avoiding it, embracing it or just dropping off the sports grid all-together. It is up to us individually. Hell, for all I know you really like the hyperbole.
With all of that being said, however, I still find some things I read or hear to be bothersome. The latest example being the discourse by college basketball writers and fans about there being no great teams in the nation this season. Which might be true, but also avoiding at least having an honest discussion about it.
It’s as if we are all blatantly ignoring the fact that the Arizona Wildcats are undefeated. Not some ho-hum, mid-major or a program from a power-conference that we “know” aren’t actually any good. Arizona has been a legitimate program for a long time, has a good coach in Sean Miller and the team is full of studs.
Still — maybe because they weren’t “our” preseason favorites — the Wildcats are getting very little credit for doing the only thing they can do, win every game they play.
Maybe it really is the fact that their best player, Aaron Gordon , isn’t one of the freshmen that the mainstream shoved down our collective throats. It could even be the fact that they play a little closer to the west coast than us basketball media can stay up to watch. Heck, it’s probably a combination of those two plus the fact that folks don’t like the unfamiliar.
Despite Arizona being a real life, traditional basketball program under Lute Olson for a substantial amount of time, this version of the Wildcats might feel too different to the casual fan. Mainly because Sean Miller isn’t Olson or the fact that Miller hasn’t been crammed down our jugulars by the national media as one of the country’s best coaches. Although, that would all be us avoiding the fact that Miller is exactly what die-hard fans knew he would be and maybe even a little more.
It’s all like Rodney Dangerfield has been reincarnated and turned into an inanimate object. In this case, Dangerfield is now getting no respect as the embodiment of the Arizona Wildcats. Seriously, Dangerfield’s career shtick was those “no respect” jokes and to a large degree they were based off of his real life. Now, it looks like it is Arizona’s turn to get very little credit from folks who would otherwise praise them if their school name were something a little more in the line of the Duke Blue Devils or the Syracuse Orange of the world.
That’s certainly not a knock to those teams. They have earned the benefit of the doubt. Oddly enough, though, so has Arizona. Which makes this all just a little bit more puzzling.
Are the Arizona Wildcats an all-time great team? Probably not, but that is usually the case in every season. That doesn’t stop us from proclaiming other teams great in that particular year. Maybe we should stop talking down the level of teams this year and start to recognize the pecking order is just a little bit different or possibly being reordered.
Alas, you know and I know that the moment Arizona loses one game that everyone and their mothers will voice their opinions about “being right” about them not being great. As if teams are not allowed to lose, since no one goes undefeated anymore, because we all have a narrative we have to push.
Narratives >>>> Hyperbole?