top of page

Sick! And college hoops

Was still waffling last night on whether I was sick when I crashed at about 10:00pm on New Years Eve. My 53 year old prostate woke me up at 2:30am. I was very snug in bed with my pillows all over the place. One between the knees. One in my chest to hug. One against my back. Last one under my head.

I crawled out of the covers and immediately started shaking. I felt super cold. Made it to the toilet and had to sit down. Put my hand on my forehead and knew it. Fever. Merry F'in New Year... Glad I didn't get together with Daisy last night. I don't want to be a burden on her when she's not feeling well. I'm a big whiner when I get sick. Best that I'm alone.

Crawled back into bed and got comfortable again. After laying there for about ten minutes I remembered there was some serious college hoops and football on TV. If I'm going to be miserable I might as well be on the couch watching something cool. Bundled up in sweats and a hoodie and hit the couch.

I feel very fortunate to have grown up at the right time to be a college basketball fan. I was introduced to the sport with Magic beating Larry and followed that up with the amazing 80s. NC State beating Phi Slamma Jamma. I think Jimmy Valvano is still running around up in heaven looking for someone to hug. If you can watch his final speech before he succumbed to cancer and not cry you're not human. I got to see Villanova upset Georgetown and Patrick Ewing. I got to see Danny and the Miracles win a National title. I'll forever be a Kansas fan for that one. If you can't tell, I'll always love an underdog.

Major college hoops is the highest level of basketball to me. I'm super biased. As a player and coach with a fundamental mindset the NBA is sort of a joke. It's not really basketball anymore. It's strictly entertainment. The rules are flexible on any given night and it depends on who has the ball. Travels, turnovers, and fouls feel arbitrary. I get it. It's a for-profit industry and it leads to hoops that's just not for me. When I graduated from high school in 1987 we didn't have a three point line. It was the last year without one in Washington state. We scored in the paint a lot more. Shooting the ball from deep was silly. The three point line has made it a different game. I can't say it's a better or worse game. Just different. A lot less physical now. Much more finesse. The classic back to the basket big man is a thing of the past.

I fell in love with UNLV in the 80s when I saw the Tark Shark Tank on TV. A team not in a giant conference that competes at the highest levels? Sign me up. And the coach? He looked like a little monk sucking on a towel. Jerry Tarkanian was a character. He actually had two towels. One damp and one dry to help him deal with a saliva issue. Their final four loss to Indiana really hurt. I never liked Bobby Knight. I can respect the skills and dislike the man. He was just a bully. When Larry Johnson and David Butler transferred to Vegas it created the most dominate team I've ever seen. They nearly went two straight years without a loss. F you Bobby Hurley and Christian Laetner.

I got to see that Vegas team live three times. Twice in Seattle in the NCAA regional finals on their way to the final four, and again in Vancouver BC once. They were a "show" like nothing I had ever seen before. They played with flash, enthusiasm, and for each other. After winning a national title as juniors all five seniors returned to try and do it again. It didn't end well (stop smiling Mike), but they were fun to watch.

I've been very fortunate that my other favorite team hired two coaches that approached the game in a specific manner. Roy Williams and Bill Self have been perfect at Kansas for me. Both terribly fundamental and traditional. Bill Self has found a way to still play the game with classic big men while adapting to the three point line. Combine that with your pick of All-American recruits and you have a classic blue-blood school that will compete for a national title every year. I get to pick them winning it all in my bracket every year and that's realistic.

I haven't watched Kansas play live, but I did make a special trip to Vegas in 2008 to watch them win a national title with a group of friends. My buddy Tom was from Kansas so it was a fun trip. It's the only bet I've ever made on a sporting event in Vegas. I still have the betting slip. It was stapled to my wall in my classroom for the past twelve years. Super Mario Chalmers three at the buzzer is an all time bucket.

Ugh. My lower back is on fire. This is going to be a struggle to be comfortable all day today. I hate being too hot and this fever is going to make it tough. I see multiple showers in my day today.

Currently I'm watching my Jayhawks lose at home to Oklahoma State. To say it's a bit of a surprise is an understatement. They've won 31 straight conference openers in the Big 12. Bill Self won 15 consecutive Big 12 titles, and it's consistently one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Easily the top conference in the nation again this year. OSU is on fire from the perimeter hitting 9-18 threes. With a fifteen point lead headed to the locker room I'm guessing that Bill Self is going to do some yelling at his young Jayhawk squad. Let's see how they respond. How good has this Kansas team been? I'm fully expecting a text from Shane or Durkee twisting the knife in me at the moment as my heavily favored team is losing at home. If they sucked no one would care.

I've got two destinations that I would love to watch a game at. Thomas and Mack Center (UNLV) and Phog Allen Field House (Kansas). If I live long enough I'll get there. I've been prioritizing other adventures lately, but these two places are still on my mind. Oddly enough, after this Kansas game is over UNLV is playing a game on national TV. That's a rarity now. Since the end of the Tarkanian reign they have struggled to be competitive. This year they're winning. Hmm. Maybe I should watch.

It's 4:15am now. Covered in sweat. Dang...

Fifteen point lead is down to five in first five minutes of the second half. I'm guessing coach Self had enough with this. It's going to be a game now. As I type this it's now down to two. Rock Chalk Jayhawk baby. Rock Chalk. Kansas ended up with a win, but that was a close game. Lots of big plays both ways down the stretch.

Final word of the day? It's only 8:30am and I'm already feeling better. Weirdness. My throat is still sketchy. I don't have a thermometer, but I'm guessing my temperature has dropped. When I woke up shaking I was a bit concerned. Now? Not so much. How the hell can that change so quickly? All I took was some ibuprofen. Perhaps I'm not past the worst of it. Nothing in the lungs yet. No real headache to speak of yet, but overall I feel sort of fragile. We shall see.

40 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jan 01, 2023

Let us know how you are!!!! Sending a wave of healing energy all the way from Birch Bay.

Oh and also, Happy New Year.:) Big hug.


Mike Durkee
Mike Durkee
Jan 01, 2023

Sadly, I did not see the game I was in the shop (uh garage). You are spot on with the way Self does his thing... I could very easily be talked into seeing a Kansas game--I don't see that as a road trip I see it as a flying tube trip. UNLV and Houston are most likely the two best teams not to win it all... but then there is the G'town team... like the movie Any Given Sunday (oh my a movie reference, again?!). One of the things I miss is doing the book at basketball games with you on the clock... I still don't know how anyone can run the clock--I would F that up so bad multiple…

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page