Monday, November 8, 2010

A New Story

By Lauren Biggers

Davidson vs. Lenoir-Rhyne

I’ve been asked lots of times (no, seriously!) over the last few weeks if I was going to write this blog again. The answer was always “OF COURSE!!”, but in the back of my mind, I had some doubts. As much as I struggled at times to write about last year’s team, how would I ever write about this one?

Like most of you, I had gotten emotionally connected (and thrown all objective journalism standards out the window in the process...) to this Davidson basketball story. I wasn’t quite sure how to write a different one.

But before the first jump ball of the 2010-11 season, I heard from three of four members of the “Class of 2010.” One showed up in the doorway, unexpectedly, on Friday. One twittered. One called. As I answered, I said “OH MY GOSH. You are literally supposed to be running out of the tunnel right now.” And we listened to “Welcome to the Jungle” together. It was as if they were telling me, in their own ways, it’s OK. You can get emotionally attached to this team, too.

And so I will. Of course. If you have read my stuff for long enough, you know you won’t find a whole lot about basketball here. I’m not going to break down the defense, or discuss how many minutes so-in-so played or didn’t and why. There are other avenues for that, and also... you must know by now, I’m just not very good at it. Instead I will, as Richard Terry said, help you get to know this team, and I will try to be entertaining in the process.

But you will have to bear with me, because I am getting to know them at the same time. So much so, that when I got the starters from the man-in-stripes Lee Jones, I had to refer to the roster to see who #23 and #40 actually were. (And to Ms. Downing, a big apology from the SID department. #31 is definitely on this team.)

And our first chance to see them in game-time action in 2010-11, sure, the result wasn’t quite the one we all hoped for. Though, as I overheard Big Ben Allison say to a fan after the volleyball game, ever-so-politically correct that it made me smile, “It’s always nice to get a win.”

After the game everybody wants to know, why did we only beat LR by four points? Literally, everybody. A glance at the box score shows some pretty obvious answers. Make more shots. Hit more free throws. Give some credit to #23 in black.

In the press room after, the question: So Coach, when you play an exhibition, are you just messing with your lineup for the regular season?

“Well, I don’t mess with much.”

See, there’s a picture we found this off season that has now made it to the Wall of Fame on my bulletin board, showing a family of five McKillops. The high-school daughter, the middle-school brother, the youngest in elementary school. Everybody looks dramatically different. Except one. Probably 15 years earlier, same perfect suit, same perfect hair. Because he doesn’t mess with much.

PS. I think we’re going to have some fun this year.

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