Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge
by Bryan Harvey

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

Truth & lies in Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'
by Bryan Harvey

A world of child soldiers & cowboys

A world of child soldiers & cowboys
by Bryan Harvey

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'

To their own devices: Pablo Larrain's 'The Club'
by Bryan Harvey

Cavaliers-Magic Preview (and more on the pinewood derby)

May 20, 2009

I am not sure if any of you made it far enough to read Teach's pinewood derby story and his subsequent comparison of the Western Conference Finals, so I figured I would piggy-back on his idea of comparing NBA playoff basketball to the pinewood derby. Here is the result of said comparison:

I grew up in a military family which can bring a lot of changes; whether its change in rank, address, or quality family time. It also brought a constant change of boy scout groups. For me that meant I got to see quite a lot of differences in how the parents helped their sons in their conquest to win the pinewood derby. Some would urge their sons to do a brunt of the work while offering guidance, so they could see something from start to finish. Some would do the entire car for their son, in order for their son to enjoy the glory of winning. Some would work hand in hand with their son, in order to enjoy some of the minimal family time that comes with being in a military family. And some would not help, the boy needed to learn some responsibility. All of these different methods wound up with different results; some great, some mediocre, and some terrible.

When I lived in Hawaii on the island of Oahu, their was a kid named Tripp. His father was an engineer in the Air Force. His father saw the pinewood derby as a challenge, a chance to show off his Air Force Academy education in order to help his awkward son enjoy some triumph. His dad built the best looking car in the troop. It looked as sleek as an F-22 and seemed to move just as fast. When we were trying out the track, myself and the other troop-members were shaking in our boots as if Tripp was running out Lebron James onto the track. While we had to go up against him with Rafer Alston. Our hard work, no matter how proud of it we were, could not match up with the work of an Air Force trained engineer. Tripp won the derby that night, and held his trophy up high with a grin from ear-to-ear.

However I cannot imagine he got much joy out of that win later in life. I can see it now, with his trophy sitting on his mantle when someone asks him how he won that, and all Tripp can muster is a "Meh." He can't take the credit for something he had no part in. How could he? The only thing Tripp did to win was sign up for boy scouts and the luck of having a well educated father. I can imagine the lingering feelings of Tripp's derby title is a lot like the feeling that Cleveland GM Danny Ferry has for their championship aspirations. The Cavaliers would not have Lebron on the team without a monumental collapse of the team. They would not have Lebron without a little luck and having the balls bounced their way in order for them to win the Lebron sweepstakes. Without that happening the Cavaliers would not be here and they would probably have a higher chance of being in the draft lottery, than drafting last in Junes draft.

Sure Ferry made the great trade for Mo' Williams, a guard who has talents of his own and with that talent forces the opposition to pull the double-team off of their King. But would they make that trade without being on the cusp of a championship? Its doubtful. It is more probable that they would be dumping salary for 2010, to join all the other teams in the Lebron sweepstakes. Thankfully for the Cavaliers that is not necessary. They had the luck and they have Lebron. The same could all be said for the GM of Orlando and the Magic, as they had the luck and they have Dwight.

When I lived in a suburb of Cleveland, I once again joined the local boy scout troop and once again enjoyed the thrills of the pinewood derby. I witnessed the same types of the parents mentioned again. Their was a boy named Jefferson Eugene, who inexplicably asked to go by his full name whenever spoken too. I don't want to put his last name on here but I found this rather peculiar considering we were kids and everyone goes by their first name or their nickname. In the troop we had a RJ, a Trey, a Bubba, a Wally, and a Haymaker. No one I had met had ever gone by their full name other than Jefferson Eugene. I found this so odd that is until I met his parents. His parents treated him as an adult; he made his own food, did his own laundry, and had a job doing landscaping with his older cousin Jason. He was elven.

With the responsibilities put upon Jefferson Eugene it is obvious that his parents thought he should make his car on his own. Even with his remarkable self-sufficiency and his family lineage working at the local Ford plant, he was eleven. He could not be expected to make a competitive car, while trying to take care of all his various responsibilities. Jefferson Eugene made his car and it was obvious. It was adorned not with paint but with markers. It was cut not by an adults swift hand, but by an adolescents nervous twitch. It was not sanded, it was as rough as the life I imagine Jefferson Eugene living. With warts and all when he walked into the room, he walked into the room almost like the proudest peacock in a room full of pigeons. His car wasn't the fastest, it definitely didn't look the best, but it was his. He built this car on his own, and he was just happy to compete. Jefferson Eugene's car didn't have a Cinderella story that night. But I imagine out of all the kids he gained the most from that experience. After all he was just eleven.

In this part of the post, Lebron and Dwight play the parts of Jefferson Eugene. Sure they were touched by God to be larger than life. But their work ethic made them the basketball players and the men they are today. The only reason Jefferson Eugene could compete that night at the derby was a focus of a man twice his age. The drive and will to do his best at whatever he was doing, for Lebron and Dwight that is basketball. Their skills didn't come with being bigger than everyone else and their skills didn't come with being faster or jumping higher than everyone else. Sure it helped a lot, but it didn't make them the best at their positions at such a young age. Those gifts were given to a lot of the players in the NBA, but none of them are King James or Superman.

Whoever wins this battle of these beasts of the league, we will get a treat. Enjoy this series for what it is, a match-up of two twenty-somethings battling at a level no one their age has ever achieved. I like the Cavaliers to win the series in 7 games, Lebron has the better cast around him and they have been here before. While Dwight's Magic rely to much on the three. If the Magic can stay away from the three ball long enough to pound it in the paint, they have a big edge in this match-up. But they barely got through a shortened Celtic lineup without doing that and I don't see them doing that against a team like the Cavaliers and their King.

1 comments:

Teach said...

I think we have a new way to drive away readers. We'll pick a comparison to make, and then we can see who writes the most on it.

May 20, 2009 at 7:48 PM

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