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Post Column: Basketball season lets fans start over

I suppose it’s convenient that as soon as the football team’s unfortunate descent became unbearable to watch, basketball season rolled around to distract us.

Men’s basketball, being the other big-deal sport at this school, swiftly replaced its predecessor on the agenda of things to get excited about and discuss during lunch. When the football season didn’t quite pan out the way everyone in Athens hoped it would, it was even easier to shift focus to the Bobcats in The Convo, who would surely carry our torch and redeem our pride, making up for all the embarrassment we suffered in that other sport.

In other words, you could say that football fumbled and basketball grabbed the rebound.

With basketball, we get to keep the school-spirit momentum going strong, and it doesn’t hurt that the men’s team is starting out its season with sky-high expectations and that most of its games so far have been blowouts. It won’t be long before we start tallying up the wins and knocking on wood every time someone says the word “undefeated,” just like the last few weeks of football never happened.

Basketball is the new football in more ways than just being a great surrogate for the nervous energy and bragging rights; it is also the new home of all the outrageous spectacles that made Peden Stadium so charming to me a few months ago.

The constant insistence from every corner of The Convo that you are supposed to be pumped up and having the best time of your life does not excite me as much as it wears me out. Every time there is a timeout, the band and cheer squad go absolutely nuts, as if they are not so much stalling but actually celebrating the fact that the teams need a moment to compose their thoughts. Trying to match that level of enthusiasm every few minutes can be exhausting.

While trying to keep up with watching a dozen cheerleaders doing simultaneous backflips, people walking around in stilts and promotional toys parachuting from the rafters, I cannot help but think that it is all just a bit too much, and that it distracts from the game.

I understand that the over-the-top commercialism and the Bobcat-pride overdrive is all part of the atmosphere, but I still think it is more fun to watch Jon Smith hang from the rim or hear fans react to a technical foul than it is to watch people throw T-shirts or roll tires down the court.

I think the game itself is more interesting than everything else going on around it, and even though I still do not fully understand why that is a potentially controversial statement, I am glad that the people who get it — the honest and original fans, not me — love it.

I will probably stick to watching games on TV from now on, where I can compare the relative awesomeness of athletes’ names such as Indiana Faithful and Ivo Baltic in peace and comfort. That is my way of showing support for the basketball team in my own way — at home, not at the dome.

Haylee Pearl is a sophomore studying journalism, a novice sports viewer and a copy editor for The Post. How excited are you for basketball season? Email her at


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