College Sports

Spittle: College Hoops Isn’t The Same. Or Am I Getting Old?

By GAVIN SPITTLE
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Jerry Tarkanian
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Traveling Down Memory Lane 

When my dad and I would watch sports together, the line that always made me role my eyes – “It’s just not the same as when I was a kid.”  Yeah right, pops, I appreciate the commentary, and I’m sure you walked five miles in knee-high snow to get to school.

I caught myself saying that cringing phrase as the tourney unofficially got under way. Really? You are calling the Thursday and Friday of the first week of the tournament the second round? I just don’t feel the passion I once felt.  I feel like anyone that has superstar qualities will ‘one-night-stand me’ and declare for the NBA draft.

Before you check me and Barry Warner into the retirement home, just let me say my piece. Let’s walk down memory lane. I didn’t know what UNLV was until I watched them on TV. Thank goodness they put the full college names on hats back then. I knew that I had to wear that lid to look cool.  

 Spittle: College Hoops Isnt The Same. Or Am I Getting Old?

Bo Kimble during his 1989 season at Loyola Maymount (Mike Powell/Getty Images)

Admit it, you wanted to know what a towel tasted like because of Jerry Tarkanian. I did the same thing to mimic shooting free throws like St. John’s Marc Jackson. I even shot with my opposite hand like Bo Kimble did in remembrance of Hank Gathers at Loyola Marymount.  My neighbor was older and taller than me so he was Ralph Sampson and I was Chaminade trying to pull off an epic upset in Nerf Basketball.  C’mon, you can’t tell me you didn’t wear t-shirts under your jersey just like Patrick Ewing at Georgetown.  Back then, we had cool nicknames like Phi Slamma Jamma and Eric ‘Sleepy’ Floyd.

Things Change

College basketball had an effect on my lifestyle. Ratings seem to be up this year, so maybe it’s just me getting old and cynical. Maybe I’m just missing my childhood. Or maybe we are watching a watered down product of what it used to be.  They say everything that is old is new again, so I’ll hang on to my UNLV corduroy hat. But I just don’t feel like ‘dancing’ in March as much as I used to.  I’m sorry for my eye-rolling, dad. You were right, and I was wrong.

What’s your take on the evolution of college basketball?

Check out our March Madness page.

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