by Kevin Burton
The first time I heard the word “dud” was in the context of fireworks.
Something you paid good money for didn’t work. The promise of boom-boom, the reality of silence, or maybe a little hissing.
No bang for the buck.
Of course the term applies to many other things. Here’s a broader definition of dud from Oxford Languages: “a thing that fails to work properly or is otherwise unsatisfactory or worthless.”
So today I am looking at my sports calendar and March is shaping up to be a dud.
The metaphorical basketball is deflated and the baseball is missing altogether.
I have been a big fan of Wichita State basketball. This year’s edition plays stupid, uninspired ball, is barely over .500 and unless they win the American Athletic Conference Tournament this week, will not make the big dance. They probably will not make little dance (NIT) either.
On Dec. 14 Wichita State played Alcorn State and won 82-63. The Shockers were never threatened. But I just looked at the NIT “bracketology” and who is projected as an 8 seed? It’s Alcorn State, not Wichita State.
As I write this there are “talks” going on between baseball owners and the millionaire players they have locked out.
The handful of 50 or 60-degree days and spring training baseball on the radio in March are enough to give us Midwestern’s hope that winter is ending.
We’ve had some good weather but no baseball or any hope of it.
Wichita State has enough talent to beat just about anybody but they don’t execute fundamentals. Go up and down the roster and there is something good to be said about every one of them. But they perform as individuals wearing matching shirts. They often don’t play as a team.
There is a certain standard we have gotten used to. By comparison this Shocker team is a dud.
Even if the baseball strife is all ironed out today, the game they bring back won’t be the game I grew to love as a child.
This new version of baseball is all about launch angles, defensive shifts, foreign substances, Houston banging on trash cans.
It’s all strikeouts, walks and home runs. Nobody knows how to bunt.
The new baseball is a dud.
The College basketball Invitational is a 16-team tournament to be held March 19-23 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Basketball Classic is the new form of what used to be called the Collegeinsider.com Post-season Tournament. That ran from 2009 to 2019. It was cancelled the last two years because of Covid. It is set to run this year as The Basketball Classic with 32 teams from March 15-29.
That’s 48 chances for Wichita State to be selected to one of those two lesser tournaments, should they miss the NCAAs and the NIT. It could happen.
If that does happen, should I grumble about playing South Succotash Agricultural College instead of playing UCLA? Or should I just get over myself and enjoy? Basketball is basketball, right?
How should I define what is a dud and what isn’t? Here’s a hint from the Old Testament on how to enjoy small things.
“When the returned exiles of Israel began rebuilding the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel, the young rejoiced; the old wept,” reads a passage from www.desiringgod.org. Why were they weeping?
“Compared to Solomon’s temple, which the gray-haired among the people still remembered, the new sanctuary seemed a mere stump. Their dreams of the kingdom, restored to its former glory, suddenly died in a day of small things.”
“And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3 11-12, KJV).
“While the elders of Israel wept over this day of small things, the God of Israel did not. Despite his big plans for his people, he is not afraid of the small. Nor is the small any sure sign of his displeasure, as we so often are tempted to think,” reads the website.
So maybe I should just be glad Wichita State is above .500 at all. Maybe I should be glad that since the baseball season will be shortened, the Royals probably won’t lose 100 games.
Or maybe I should just watch soccer from England.