Saturday, December 13, 2008

He Just Can't Get It Going

In his face and build, but not in his height, Adam Morrison reminds me of the kids I played basketball against at John Rogers High, or Wallace, Kootenai, St. Maries, Lakeland, or playing ball at the Y.

For this reason, I've always wanted Morrison to be a good NBA player, but it's not happening.

Tonight is a case in point. The Bobcats mounted a big comeback that fell short tonight against the Pistons, but Morrison didn't contribute much. In his nineteen minutes of play he missed three field goal attempts, missed twice from the three point line, and didn't go to the free throw line. He was scoreless and without obvious impact.



JBelle said...

did he cry when the game was over?

Go Figure said...

Only a non athlete would make a comment like JBelle's. Why do you think ABC's show highlighted the 'thrill of victory and the agony of defeat'? I too was puzzled by the crying...not the manly thing to do you know...but I spoke about it with a former coach of mine who is now a good friend and his perspective was much broader than the loss of a game. I believe that was true. He pointed out Adam's health issues and it being his last game in college. So I suggest that JBelle walk even a few steps in the shoes of Adam before disparaging him.

Having ranted, I can only say that Adam should have learned from Sampson. He cut his hair too. So, to Adam I say, It is the hair man, it is the hair. You equilibrium is thrown off wack. Keep plugging away and the touch will be there.

inlandempiregirl said...

I just wish Adam could make his continued transition to the pros a bit smoother. I believe he loves the game and this is what he has always wanted in life. I keep hoping he will find his groove. I guess my glass is always more than half full!!!

JBelle said...

Starr: you're kidding right???

I may not be an athlete and I may not be a prominent athlete like you were, but I rasied and managed a highly prominent athlete who is a two time All American, 3 time Final Four, retired professional athlete. She had major creds the like of which most athletes only dream about. She lived her dream at a very young age. So I believe I can enter the conversation at par with anybody who might have played college football. That's hypothetically speaking, of course.

Morrison's crying was bullshit. An embarrassment to the Kennel and to the pride of Gonzaga. I assure you the alumni of Gonzaga did not and do not take that selfish display lightly. We remember. Walk a few steps in his shoes? My daughter played injured, played sick, played with stiches and infected blisters. And she never, ever came with any excuses. When she laced up her cleats that was her signal to her team and her coaches that she was there at 100%. Her convenant with them that they had her absolute best for the next 90 minutes kicked in when she tied her shoes on. Honestly? I am super surprised at you. An athelete leaves it all on the field and makes no excuses. period. and you sure as hell don't cry on national television on your home court. JMJ! Thanks for letting ME rant.

Go Figure said...

JBelle, your first 6 words said it all. Me a prominate athlete, HA! Sure not bad for a town of 2,000. But I couldn't have carried his sneakers. As I said, further, the crying bothered me, but I sought out other perspectives on it. I think I learned something. As far as the alumni...they can kiss grits. Selfish? sheeezzz louise...give me a break...You don't think he dealt with far more healthwise than a cold, stitches, and blisters? HA! That is a good one from the grand dame. Funny stuff. To think he didn't far exceed any 'expectation' of anyone...laughable...Lets see, he gave the thankless almuni uncountable vicarious thrills and chills, yet a human emotion of perhaps one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of the NW leaves them cold...they should give up their high priced tickets to those who, while not condoning, UNDERSTAND, the agony of defeat. Gee, a human emotion, by an emotional (if you ever saw him play) and gifted athlete...Go Figure.

JBelle said...

omigod. I am going to slap you silly when I see you. You can kiss my grits. (muttering) Neither he nor Heytvelt were/are popular with their classmates nor the faculty, who know them both well and interact with them every day. So my fellow alumni and I are not unique in our Morrison perspectives. And I watched him play many, many times. WHEN HE WAS AT MEAD. He actually was a little more mature then. But sadly, about as professional as he was when he played at the Kennel. Nope. Not buying it; you can rough me up allll you want. How many FF's did he play in? Was he ever MVP of the FF? Did he lead his team to a national championship? nope. too busy bawling and being disappointed in his personal failure.

And finally, every single athlete out of GU will always, ALWAYS, be measured to John Stockton. That's who we are and what we do and that's a comparison that is welcomed by all players.

By the way, Starr; my life's my life. You'll get no apologies from me. But you'll also get no ridicule from me on how you've lived your life. I'm sure you've done your very best.

PDX Pup said...

Goodness. I've played in Final Fours. I even ended my senior season in the throes of Mono, captaining the only team to not make the playoffs in the last 15 years. I essentially babysat 9 freshman that year, 8 of whom were regular starters. I didn't bawl my way off the field in my last game, needing to be substituted because I couldn't contain my tears until the locker room, so as my coach told me later, that "year wasn't meant to be the year but the experience and maturity those freshman gained under you will pay off later." And it did; those freshman led the team to its' first national championship when they were seniors.

I coach kids who are diabetic and they handle it just fine: "Hey Coach, I am feeling a little light-headed and need a juice box." "Sure Sarah, go for it." She misses two minutes and is back on the field; oh yeah, she's 12. It's a manageable disease for athletes--not quite the trauma people make it out to be...funny thing is, Morrison never made a big deal about his diabetes, never blamed anything on it and asked that others not to make an issue of it either, so his emotional breakdown BEFORE the conclusion of the game, BEFORE he was even subbed out of the game was not a health issue and was frankly out of line for an athlete of his caliber.

But to get back to the issue of Raymond's post, having watched Morrison nearly as much as JBelle, I can honestly say I never saw him making it in the NBA because he's always been a coaster--never really had the ethic to push and push and push when he's down. Sure he was fun to watch at times, but those times were when he was dominant; when he was the underdog, he never delivered. He's too used to being on top, the best of the best, and doing the bare minimum to stay there. So when things get tough and the level of the game gets raised, he can't keep up.

JBelle said...

Coaster, eh? Gonzaga's program suffered at the hand of Morrison and is only now back at the pre-Morrison level, where keen and beautiful basketball is the watchword.

Go Figure said...

by John A. Bardelli (March 24, 2006)

An athlete, who takes pride in what he or she can accomplish on the battlefield of competition, brings the whole gamete of being to the battlefield … physical and emotional. The physical prowess is apparent for the duration of the contest. One never knows how, when or if the emotional will spill over and reveal itself to an adulating and critical audience.

As the Gonzaga Bulldog and UCLA Bruin basketball game of March 23, 2006, entered the final 20 seconds of play, only those who have risen to any level of competitive athleticism can appreciate what the Zag’s Adam Morrison was experiencing or what it means to be oblivious to fandom in attendance or to a watching world.

First, Adam Morrison felt the game that Gonzaga had dominated and could not possibly lose suddenly and inexplicably had gotten away from the control of Gonzaga; , secondly, the nightmarish ending had been converted into a heart sickening reality, a reality that Morrison could not accept for defeat to him was not an option.

He was embarrassed that Gonzaga was being beaten by a non-entity, an enemy that had been crushed and bent. But mysteriously the enemy was resilient and would not break nor leave the arena. The Zags had landed punch after punch and floored the UCLA Bruins enough times during this contest that had it been a boxing match the contest would have been halted and Gonzaga awarded a technical knockout. It was unbelievable to this Zeus in Bulldog garb that, as a team, the Bruins were not only still standing but ball-hawking, pressuring and scoring.

And, too, Morrison was in disbelief as were millions of fans who watched this game. He had all to lose on the battlefield of competition and being there, physically and emotionally, he was wrapped up in what millions were experiencing on a vicariously plane. How many wept and felt the zing of shock overtake them as fans when UCLA took the lead and how many tears poured down cheeks in the sanctity of homes or bars when the realization sunk in that Gonzaga’s valiant and superb efforts were for naught this weary evening? We will never know the answer to that question but I daresay that none will level comparative criticism toward the fan who had the audacity to be emotionally wrapped up in a mere game to the extend that, God forbid, he or she should cry as has been leveled at Adam Morrison.

And I ask you, how many hearts were so heavily leaden with pain as the final seconds ebbed away and the realization and shock set in that brought about exclamations such as “Oh no … I don’t believe it! Its over! Oh my God, no!”

The processing of those thoughts in an athlete take less than a millisecond, indeed, are not measurable by standards. Adam Morrison’s entire career up to that moment took on a new meaning. Amongst the conglomeration of thoughts experience were that his beloved Gonzaga, not only the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but the institution and the comradery for which he and his teammates had given all, their representation of the spirit enveloping the Jesuit University on the banks of the Spokane River, was being shown up and embarrassed by an enemy force from California who only minutes before had become completely blown away and revealed for the pretenders and imposters they were, as Morrison and his Gonzaga teammates were confident would happen once they met in open warfare. Perhaps, this was Gonzaga’s best showing of the year. But the moment of their collapse and the fatal arc of the clock were now equally enemy forces.

Adam Morrison thought about those moments he and his teammates spent sacrificing to be where they now stood, on the pinnacle of national recognition as the best of the best, representing Gonzaga and facing a showdown with the best offered whether from the east, south, north or west. Confidently, he and his mates knew that they had only time to expend and they would be taken to a new level to face Texas, Connecticut, Villanova, or another, as soon as UCLA were sent packing. The world belonged to this Gonzaga Bulldog basketball team, to Mark Few, and to its avowed team leader, Adam Morrison.

As a unit, Gonzaga believed that none could unseat a Gonzaga team that had staved off challenges and last minute rallies all season long only to emerge victorious time and time again. To a man, this Gonzaga team believed it was destined to become the NCAA Basketball Champions for the 2005-2006 seasons. Morrison not only knew it … he felt it throughout every fibre in his being.

Throughout his career at Gonzaga, Morrison always gave blood, sweat and tears in practice and always left it all on the court throughout the entirety of the season … and here he was, leaving it all out on the court … not wanting the game to be over, refusing to believe that it could be over, hopelessly believing that somehow, seconds would have to be put back on the clock and Gonzaga would redeem itself by retaking the lead and never relinquishing it. He and his mates were so conditioned to believing that they were winners and that is the way games were won … in the last seconds. For the duration of the season, Gonzaga rarely blew a team away.

Always, heretofore, a Zag had become the hero of the moment … and as Batista’s shot caromed off the iron to the left a second before the horn blared signifying an end to the battle, Morrison could not believe that fate could be so cruel and painful.

At the end of any athletic contest, we look at athletes and see the jubilation expressed, including tears of joy, by the victorious, thinking nothing of it and, indeed, it has become commonplace and a right of passage to see emotional displays and tears emerge from the eyes of the victor for, after all, aren’t those tears emblematic of communicating that for all the sacrifice rendered, it has paid off in a victory or a championship of sorts?

Yet, there are those who condemn an athlete who expresses an emotional tear letting upon being vanquished. What a double standard! What a travesty of condemnation! For the vanquished has every right to express the grieving of a loss, perhaps erroneously believing that the sacrifice was in vain and all for naught!

For those who do not take their athleticism serious enough to shed a tear, there is no amount of explaining that will induce you to understand why Adam Morrison cried before the game was over. And only those who have put heart and soul, along with blood and sweat into the spirit of competition, will fathom Morrison’s collapse in tears on the maple court, laying there oblivious and unconcerned what others might think or how they might judge him.

For Morrison, defeat was not an option and deep within the recesses of his sub consciousness he heard the Spartan Mother’s advice to her son as he embarked for warfare, “Return with your shield or on it son.” Retreat and flight to the dressing room to shed the tears of death was the act of a coward, the act of those who were conscious that others were looking on and judging. Perhaps they are justified in so doing, none of us should really judge or critique their motivation and perception of the lose. In dropping as he did, on the field of battle, in a pool of tearful emotion, Morrison revealed his courage and grit. Well done, son.

John says it much more articulately than I ever could.

raymond pert said...

I had hoped one day Coach Bardelli would return to my blog.

I hold the previous comment he wrote to me in the highest possible esteem and I'm very happy you posted his piece here, Starr.

He remains an inspiration and a guide for me. In fact, just a week or two ago I talked about him and his impact on me to one of my writing classes as we talked about the way stories can change and heal the past.

That's what the comment he wrote here two years ago did for me. It clarified a painful situation and gave me the truth I needed to reconcile with it these thirty-eight years later.

The back and forth between you and and JBelle and PDXPup has compelled me to think about a lot of stuff regarding athletes and athletics. I'll have to write my own thoughts once I have them gathered and composed.

I will say, though, that when JBelle posted her first comment, I laughed my ass off. I found it absurd, not in relation to the UCLA game, but relative to the Bobcat game he performed so miserably in. The absurd picture of Adam Morrison crying after a run of the mill NBA game and the picture I created of Coach Larry Brown cradling him, leading him off the court, killed me off.

I had no idea that JBelle's comment would stimulate such a lively sparring match.

And now Coach Bardelli is part of it.

It's a historical day at KelloggBloggin'!

Silver Valley Girl said...

Wow, this was a lively discussion on kelloggbloggin'. As you know I don't follow basketball much at all on the professional level, but my experience with the Morrison family goes way back, as you know, to my days in Glendive. I met Adam when he was still in diapers, and his dad coached basketball at DCC. From what I understand, his family made some big sacrifices for Adam to get him to where he is...maybe too many sacrifices? Do you understand what I am asking? Did his dad John and mother Wanda give him too much? Didn't John quit coaching to coach his son, and mentor him. I'm not sure I know the whole story, but maybe other kids who had to "earn" it a bit more may be a bit tougher in the big leagues. Who knows? Probably no one. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents worth (even though this subject is way over my head!!! Seriously, I just like to let people know I knew Adam when he was in diapers. Ha! Ha!)

inlandempiregirl said...

I will also add my two cents. Being raised in a family where tears welled up easily over an episode of "Lassie", reading "Where the Red Fern Grows", listening to "Misty" sung by Sarah Vaughn, or singing the Kellogg High School alma mater I just don't think I would have been tough enough for girl's athletics. Perhaps it was a good thing we only had track and Title IX didn't kick in until the next year after I left high school. For us GAA still holds the best memories of fun athletics with Mrs. H. on Thursday nights at Andrews Gym. That was probably all I could have handled.

JBelle said...

SVG; you raise another piece of Adam's profile that' s critical. His parents. By any account, and I know dozens and dozens of people who know them, they are magnificent people. They are the epitome of love beyond love, patience beyond patience. I literally do not know anyone who does not say that these people are the nicest, most caring, most wonderful people anyone could ever know. And I also don't know anyone who doesn't shake their head and say, There IS a God; because Adam Morrison experienced him at the hands of his parents. In other words, that kid needed these parents. It's widely understood and appreciated in the Gonzaga community that Adam would have never made it through Gonzaga without his parents. They have great, great credibility with the Catholic school parents that have build that university and comprise the greater Catholic school community here. They are loved and appreciated. Adam still awaits his entrance to such exultation.

JBelle said...

IEV: well it's not like you wouldn't have plenty of time to practice your poise and professionalism. You start in the 3rd grade and work your way to up to the NCAA play offs! You have a few years to practice your techniques....I cry at commercials with dogs in them. I cry at showtune lyrics. And yes, I cry every Christmas eve when the organ tunders out the opening strains of 'Commmme, All Ye Faaaaaithful...'

inlandempiregirl said...

Actually I am getting better at controlling my tears. I made it through the singing of "Silent Night" at church this morning without shedding a tear. The woman in front of me was wiping tears though. JBelle, I am glad we are both part of the sisterhood of women that can cry over dogs on commercials and Christmas hymns(or personhood RP). Others I can add to the list are the national anthem at the Olympics, " Christ the Lord has Risen Today" on Easter, and the end of "The Outsiders" when I teach it to my students each year.

JBelle said...

check. check. check.

I cry over the national anthemn at all Portland Pilot games, too. I bet you've never been. You should go just so you can see. If you cry. ;)