Friday, March 27, 2009

Realizing I am Old


It was bound to happen. I can no longer avoid it. I have become old.

They say age isn't a number, it is a state of mind.

So what state of mind am I in when I try to watch Memphis play Missouri and I can only focus on the ridiculous nature of Memphis' uniform? I am sure a reasonable basketball game was going on, but here I am cheering against Memphis because I, the guy who once promised myself I would not become one of those bitter old media guys who hates everything the kids do, cannot come to terms with the fact that their shorts look ridiculous to me.

Here is the Memphis bench from last night:


I mean look at how crazy that looks! The back of their shorts are almost on the floor when they sit down!!! How can any team be taken seriously with that look?

What would Larry Bird say?


Before I anger you, allow me to also point out that Larry Bird, John Stockton, and all of the other icons of our youth in the 1980s were wearing ridiculous shorts, too. Way too short. Daisy Duke should not be wearing shorts the same length as basketball players. And when many of us were playing basketball at our respective middle schools, the shorts we were handed were way too short.


Then, it changed. I am not sure how it changed, but I think Michael Jordan was involved. And when Michael Jordan got involved with anything back then, those of us who were young basketballers were more than happy to do whatever he wanted us to do. Buy goofy looking shoes for $100? Sure! Imitate moves that we were not able to imitate? Absolutely! Risk biting our tongues off because we thought we became better players with out tongues out? You know it.

So, first Michael looked like this -- notice the shorts leaving much of the thigh exposed:


Dean Smith would not allow insanely large shorts. There is no question.

But then he became this...and how many of us would do what Michael did here? Standing at half-court while someone is shooting free throws, and pulling the bottom of his shorts down to his knees with both hands. I stood like this at every free throw from 1986-1989. 10,000,000 were trying to "Be Like Mike" before Gatorade told us to.


I think next came the Fab 5 at Michigan. If memory serves, they thought the Jordan tw0-inches-above-the-knee shorts were too short. So, Jalen Rose and friends decided that the short needs to get past the knee cap. That gave us this look:


While they angered my coaches, they got over it. But, that was when I noticed that the length of shorts made old people mad. I never considered such a small detail would be offensive. But for some reason, these old men seem bothered. I laughed. Old people are funny.

But, then I noticed something. The shorts were getting longer!


The shorts were getting longer and I was getting older. Apparently that was a bad combination. Last season, when I was watching DJ Augustin and the Longhorns, I pondered whether or not he could even dribble between his legs if he wanted to.

The shorts are so long that surely the ball would get hung up on the shorts if a player ever attempted the Jordan-three-times-between-his-legs move from his 63 points at the Boston Garden game back in the day, a move we all tried about a thousand times on our driveways.


Is this really where we want to go? Is this what the kids want? What is next? Shorts that actually cover the shoes like bell-bottom pants?

Seriously. What is the next evolution? Will it go all the way back to Stockton some day? I am fascinated with the evolution now, because I see how crazy it makes me to see Memphis wearing them.

I have no horse in this race. I have no rooting interest left in the NCAA tournament. Unless I feel that your team is wearing ridiculous shorts.

Then this old man is cheering against you. Sorry. I see the world differently at 36 than I did at 16.

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