No Basketball Times? What do we do now?
About a month or so ago my wife saw me keeled over writhing in pain.
Anticipating sympathy and kindness, I got instead, “Is this something you are now going to do every March?”
“Today was the worst.”
“Really? Because I thought the Tournament getting cancelled last year was the worst.”
“They’re both the worst.”
"You should probably look up the definition of the word worst."
This did not seem like an appropriate time to both confuse me and add to my to-do list.
As I clutched my abdominal area, I asked her, “You ever feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut?”
“No, not ‘like’ it. I’ve actually felt it. Let me introduce you to your two children.”
I’m wasn't sure how to respond, but an accusation of bad parenting probably wasn’t the way to go.
"You do realize that when I was pregnant they kicked me regularly. Or have you forgotten the many times you put your hand on my stomach and begged me, ‘Make ‘em kick! Make ‘em kick!"
“I’m telling you this was worse. I talking real pain.”
As she prepared to add to that real pain, I exclaimed, “Basketball Times is ending!"
“Oh my God!"
Finally some sympathy.
"Well what on Earth are you going to do now?"
Yeah, it was short lived sympathy.
But that’s the big question: What are we going to do now?
Where oh where are we going to go for top notch college hoops content?
(For those wondering if “top notch” was a subtle Caddyshack reference, the answer is: no, it wasn’t supposed to be subtle.)
I guess there’s ESPN which is a great place to turn during March Madness.
Well, that is if you are looking for non-stop, in-depth analysis of the NFL Draft.
There’s also The Athletic which does have great writing, but you have to pay for it.
Now mind you, I’m not a cheap man.
Though that’s a statement that Cheers barfly, Norm Peterson, once claimed would only be said by a cheap man.
But honestly, it’s the hassle of having to create a password.
And trying to remember it, you know, long enough to immediately re-enter it.
Then I have to go through the pockets of every pair of pants and every jacket.
Because logic indicates that one of them has to have my damn wallet.
(Turns out that’s not always accurate - sometimes the wallet is in the pants I’m wearing.)
And on top of that I have to establish I’m not a robot, which thankfully does not require an affidavit from my wife.
It, however, does necessitate that I note how many stop lights I see.
I always enter zero because I never seem to see stop lights.
And that’s something to which my wife would attest.
There are more than a plethora of other websites with college hoops content, but nothing akin to the deep dive that is Basketball Times.
Oh sorry, I should say “was” Basketball Times - I may be in denial.
The thing is, a failure to read enough is amongst the many faults of mine which my wife lists daily.
I’ve been able to avoid some harping by pointing to Basketball Times which she considers sufficiently substantial,
And I know that those little blurbs that make up much of the other college hoops writing will count
I’ve previously disappointed her severely by claiming I had read something and pointing to the CNN scroll.
At that about that point, I heard my wife say, “Uh Honey . . .”
I always know that what follows Honey will be something sweet.
Or something condescending.
“When I asked what you were going to do now I didn’t mean you as a reader. I meant you as the a person who helps pay the mortgage.”
Yeah this wasn’t the sweet Honey.
Though her point seemed inconsistent with my plan B which was to do nothing.
I mean throughout my marriage I’ve been consistently told I have a knack for that.
I get it that it doesn’t sound great to say I’m doing nothing, so I came up with a euphemism - retire.
I checked out the finances and I definitely have enough saved to retire next month.
That assumes, of course, that I die the following month.
Uh Dave, weren’t you a lawyer?
Yeah, but I was a public defender.
Turns out you don't make a lot of money representing poor people.
My law school friends say I discriminate against the rich.
In addition, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less than return to practicing law.
I’d even rather re-watch my beloved St. Bonaventure Bonnies Round 1 performance against LSU.
I could go back to teaching which I did for a bit as an adjunct professor at little Fisher College.
It just wasn’t as rewarding as I had hoped.
My career highlight: explaining that the U.S. Supreme Court was not where Judge Judy sat.
My wife opted to offer a suggestion too.
“Honey, why don’t you start your own website.”
"I have a website, collegehoopshumor.com."
"Yeah, but why don’t you start one that has something that people want to read."
I think she’s out of the sweet Honey.
Then it hit me - I'll start a website that preserves the legacy of Basketball Times!
So I immediately called my 83 year old, Basketball Times loving dad.
A decision I regretted almost immediately after he picked up the phone.
"Hey Dad, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Bad news is Basketball Times is ending.”
“What the hell did you do?!”
“You start writing for them this past year, and now after forty plus years it’s ending!”
“Dad you really can’t blame . .
“Well, what am I going to do now?”
“That’s what I’m getting at. I’m thinking of starting a website maybe called College Basketball Times.
“A website? On the internet?"
"Yes Dad. That’s where websites are located - on the internet.”
“That’s not going to work.”
“I appreciative the vote of confidence.”
“I mean after a big meal I want to take my Basketball Times with me . .
"Dad, please stop."
"I swear, every time a new Basketball Times comes I have the best . . .
"Dad!! I get it. What if I include printing instructions?
"Printing? On the printer? I hate that damn thing. It never works and I’ve kicked it countless times.
"Just a thought, but maybe it would work a bit better if you kicked it less. But what if I told you that my website will be free.”
Hmm. I do like free.
Think of all the things you can do with that extra $40 you’ll be saving. There may be reason to believe you could use a new printer.
(I opted not to voice my alternative suggestion - anger management classes.)
Will you have all the same writers.
Well, I’ll be writing.
I mean the real writers.
And now I have a new subject for therapy.
Why do you keep referencing that stupid movie Caddyshack that nobody’s heard of.
(Yes, my dad is so old that my dated reference are too young for him.)
Did you ever consider an article about guys who are still playing in their 80s?
Gee Dad, might you have someone in mind?
I bet if you get Bob Ryan the other writers will come. Why don’t you talk to Bob Ryan?
Dad I can’t just talk to . .
And you should probably get a humor writer.
It’s amazing I even have a shred of self-esteem.
Maybe you can get Shecky Greene.
Dad, I’m not getting Shecky Greene.
Or Bob Hope.
I’m almost certain you’ll run into Bob Hope before I do.
Well you work on it. I’ve got to go play in a game against a team from The Villages.
Ok Dad. Be the ball.
What? I have a ball. What the hell did you do to my ball? First Basketball Times, now my ball?
"Dad I didn’t
"Call me later. I think you mentioned you also had good news."
After that I immediately shot an email to Basketball Times publisher, John Akers.
You know, before the adreneline rush wore off from my father’s pep talk.
I wrote something like:
"Hello John. I’m hoping to keep the legacy of Basketball Times alive with a website called College Basketball Times.
I’d hope to make a buck or two as well, but that’s quite unlikely given that my forte is accomplishing things wholly unworthy of compensation.
"So instead my main goal would be to feature college basketball writers, players, and coaches who aren’t getting the recognition deserved - much like Basketball Times.
My plan additionally includes giving a percentage of any income to the Jimmy V Foundation.
And yes, feel free to note my optimistic use of the word income.”
John promptly responded with, “You had me at hello.”
Ok, no he didn’t.
But he couldn’t have been more supportive and agreed to give me the Basketball Times archives.
I then reached out to a bunch of the Basketball Times writers.
And an amazing thing happened - I got a bunch of responses.
Jim Suckup and Tony Jimenez have said they are in.
Rick Bozich said he’s love to be part of the plan.
A number of others have expressed sincere interest.
That of course leave me with one conclusion: there must be another more accomplished Dave Barend with whom they are confusing me.
I even got a response which simply said “Hi."
So I replied with a whole much of likely incompressible spew.
This was eerily similar to pretty much all of the exchanges I had at college with women.
Who knows, maybe they’ll all be in, maybe they won’t.
But in a month or two when you start feeling a little college hoops withdrawal, maybe you’ll check in with college basketball times.
I actually need to check back in with my dad back and explain to him the good news, though it’s changed a bit.
See one of the responses I got simply said, “Yes, I’m interested. We’ll talk.” - signed Bob Ryan.
Who knows, maybe I’ll get Shecky Green too.