Late post today. Why? Because on Saturday, playing basketball, I sprained my left ankle so bad that I actually sat on the floor screaming for about 10 seconds. If you ever want to see a group of guys have no idea how to react to you, pull that little trick. To my credit, I hobbled off almost immediately so they could continue the game. But the first hour or so after a sprained ankle is absolutely excruciating. The pain comes in sharp waves, and because you're forced to move to get yourself home, you also can't avoid exacerbating it.
So I took today off to let it heal, and slept in.
Advantages of a sprained ankle: I can call myself "the wounded king" and make demands of my girlfriend. Despite being semi-annoyed at this, she has to follow through; I can't walk. Unfortunately, this only lasts for about 3-4 days before I can start hobbling around pretty effectively without any serious risk of damage.
Disadvantages of a sprained ankle: Everything else. I'm the kind of person who does some form of exercise every day, and this seriously crimps my style. No running, no basketball, no yoga, no football, nothing. All I can really do is some ab work and push-ups. It blows. Also, I'll have to use crutches for a couple days starting tomorrow, and that is the absolute worst. I have no idea how anyone uses crutches. I consider myself in decent shape, and at least slightly stronger than the average bear, but I go one city block on crutches and feel like I've just dragged a giant log over a mountain. I've been told it's about establishing a rhythm, and perfecting technique, but it just seems arduous and painful.
It could be worse. It could be a broken leg, or anything more severe than that. But still, 3-5 weeks of inactivity is sure to be a drag. So there's my whining, out in the open. Now we move on to the objects of envy, those men of the world who are not only capable of performing athletic feats, but actually excel.
The Super Bowl
What a fortunate game for New Orleans. There were three huge events that turned this one into a Saints victory when it looked like the Colts had them by the short hairs:
1) Pierre Garcon's dropped pass. This was on Indy's third drive, in the beginning of the second quarter. They'd scored on their first two, but on 3rd and about 5, on their first set of downs, Garcon dropped a good pass across the middle and forced a punt. Badly needed by the Saints; it stemmed the tide and allowed them to narrow the gap.
2) Caldwell's decision to run the ball in the last drive of the 2nd quarter. Yes, they were pinned deep, but does that really matter? There were two minutes left, and Indianapolis already proved they could put together a long drive with relative ease. Go for the score, dude. Instead, three cowardly runs after an inspiring goal-line stand, a punt, and the Saints got a momentum-building field goal going into the half.
3) The onside kick. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. You have to take chances like that if you're going to win a Super Bowl. I loved this move by Payton, and it paid off big time. After the touchdown, when New Orleans had their first lead, I was convinced he was going to do it again, except this time with the kicker nubbing it straight and recovering it himself. That would have been double cool.
Those three combined took a chunk out of the Indy offense. One was bad luck, and two were coaching decisions. By the time they played out, Peyton had been on the bench too long, and the game became a dog fight instead of an effortless Colt win. And I'm happy that in the end, the victory went to the team with the more courageous coach. You don't win Super Bowls with caution; fortune favors the bold.
That being said, I think New Orleans fans will quickly become obnoxious. I have absolutely nothing against the city, or the team, so the fact that I'm already tired of them speaks volumes. The sense of entitlement and the "Who Dat" and the arrogant sort of insistence that they somehow have a lease on "real" joy, or that their brand of partying is somehow mystically superior...rubs me the wrong way.
The HUGE caveat: I'm glad the city won this Super Bowl. I know it probably helps, at least psychologically, with the Katrina aftermath. I really do think that's awesome. And, okay, the city is probably pretty awesome too. I'm just talking about the fans here. They've won their Super Bowl; now prepare to be turned off. After all, there's a big French strain in their populace, and we all hate the French, right? Was anybody really happy when France won the World Cup? And really, what percentage of the people celebrating on Bourbon Street last night actually understand the intricacies of football? Compared to, say, the people of Buffalo?
I'm here to ask questions, folks. The hard questions.
Last point (this feature should be called "Extra Point"): I also think this takes the cake as the most deceptively close Super Bowl. Final score was 31-17, which seems like a comfortable win. But it took those three events above to even get the Saints back in the game, and before Peyton's pick-6 (which I look at less as a bad pass and more as a really, really gutsy play by Porter; if Peyton waited another half second, he would've had Wayne wide open with Porter suckered in), it looked like the Colts were going to tie the game. Even after that, Peyton led another drive to get within striking distance, and Wayne dropped an easy touchdown catch.
Just saying, if you're a Colts fan, there are some definite regrets. Bad coaching and bad luck played a real big role.
The Duke Win
We beat BC 66-63 on the road. Not much to say here. Any road victory is a good victory in the ACC, so I can't complain too much. But Coach K's stall offense almost cost us again. I'm really tired of watching 10-15 point leads turn into 3-point victories. Not cool, Krjygjewski.
Singler (you might know him as 'The Silent Dagger') cooled off in a big way, and Scheyer and Smith had to carry the heavy load. Once again, nobody picked up the slack on offense (12 points outside of Earth, Wind, and Scheyer), and the Plumblefucks barely played (only 7 minutes for Miles). After the game, my stepfather put it best: once again, this team will have to live and probably die by the 3.
Wednesday, we go into UNC. Big game. Huge game. I'm so excited that we'll be favored to beat Carolina for the first time in what seems like forever. Believe me, there will be more about this in the coming days.
That's it for now, though. As you walk freely and gracefully amid your haunts today, take a moment to think of my hobbled condition. I am the greatest martyr.