December 28, 2004 6:42 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright and turned away from all evil.
2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
3 They all died tragically in a tornado. There were some harsh tests to Job's faith involving disease, dead livestock, and Chaldean raiders. But before dying old and full of days, he and his wife had ten more children. One was named Kezion.
4 And Kezion begat Amnioadab, and Amnioadab begat Nahshon, and Nashon begat Roboam, and Roboam begat Shem, and Shem begat Jerahmeel, and Jerahmeel begat Obed, and Obed begat Caleb, and Caleb begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Pharez, and Pharez begat Nethanel, and Nethanel begat Steve, and Steve begat Bill, and Bill begat Joey, and Joey begat Bob.
5 And each of them lived at least 300 years, and sometimes more.
6 Bob had no sheep or camel or she-asses, but he had lots of cool basketball gear.
7 For behold, Bob loved basketball. He worshipped Hoop God by observing every game beamed down from the heavens on DirecTV, and he always took care to convert his final shot attempt each evening in his driveway before retiring for the night.
8 Now there was a day when all the sons of Hoop God came to present themselves, and Hoop Satan came also among them.
9 And Hoop God said unto Hoop Satan, "Whence comest thou?" Then Hoop Satan answered: "From going to and fro on the earth, temporarily blinding referees to obvious traveling calls."
10 And Hoop God said unto Hoop Satan, "Hast thou considered my shorty Bob, that there is none like him on the earth, a perfect basketball fan that respecteth the game and the playa?"
11 Then Hoop Satan answered: "Doth Bob fear Hoop God for nought? Hast thou not given him ESPN, the NBA League Pass, archived video streams of the NCAA Tournament? But take away all that he hath, and he will curse you to thy face!"
12 Hoop God believed that there were those who worshipped him for who he was, not for what they could receive from him. And he said unto Hoop Satan, "All that he hath is in thy power, but you better not deny him completely his basketball enjoyment, for that is dark like death itself." And so Hoop Satan went forth.
13 And lo, twin bolts of lightning destroyed Bob's satellite dish and driveway hoop. And Bob rended his lucky throwback jersey and fell to the ground, worshipping Hoop God as he grieved.
CHAPTER 21 Again there was a day when all the sons of Hoop God came to present themselves, and Hoop Satan came also among them.
2 And Hoop God said unto Hoop Satan, "Whence comest thou?" Then Hoop Satan answered: "From going to and fro on the earth, convincing under-talented high schoolers to enter the NBA Draft."
3 And Hoop God said unto Hoop Satan, "Hast thou considered my shorty Bob, that there is none like him on the earth, a perfect basketball fan that doesn't scream 'that's a foul' all the time like a moron?"
4 And Hoop Satan answered: "A man can live without basketball in and about his own home, but yea, he can venture out to an arena to watch a game. But cut off his supply, and he will curse you to thy face!"
5 Hoop God said unto Hoop Satan, "He is in thine hand, but you better not deny him completely from basketball enjoyment, mofo, for that is dark like death itself." And so Hoop Satan went forth.
6 And lo, every arena and gymnasium and fieldhouse was closed to Bob, and every bar and restaurant was instructed to switch off the basketball games whenever Bob entered, and his picture was circulated to every ticket office and venue security firm in the land, with instructions to deny passage.
7 Every arena but one, that is.
8 Bob was permitted to travel unto Villanova Pavilion for early-season guarantee games against many the teams that occupied the bottom reaches: teams such as Fordham, Prairie View A&M, Dartmouth, Albany and even IUPU-Fort Wayne.
9 And Bob rended his lucky throwback jersey once more and fell to the ground, worshipping Hoop God as he grieved.
10 Bob's wife, who did not liketh basketball very much, said unto him: "There's probably a bowl game or some NFL on, why don't you go down to TGI Friday's and watch some football?"
11 But Bob said unto her, "You're talking like a crazy woman. Football sucks!"
12 Now when Bob's three college buddies heard of the evil that had befallen him, they came every one from his own place: Eli, Billy and Zophar. They did not recognize him, so depressed was Bob.
13 And they said each unto Bob, "Dude, we're here for you."
14 And so they sat with him at a Villanova guarantee game against Middle Tennessee State, and none spake a word unto him: they saw that his grief was very great.
CHAPTER 31 And Bob opened his mouth and cursed this day. He said: "I wish I was never born! I wish my father never gave me my first basketball when I was five! This blows!"
2 "Why did I grow to six-foot-three? If I had been a midget or a fat dude or someone who smoked a lot, maybe I could have gone out for baseball or something."
3 "I'm sure I've dreamed about being forced to watch a Big East team puff up its record by beating on palookas, and now here I am... watching a Big East team puff up its record by beating on palookas! My nightmares are coming true!"
CHAPTERS 4-71 Then Eli answered and said: "I know this is a tough time, and you've been a great bro to us, but you've got to buck up."
2 "The Hoop God exacts cruel punishment against those who sin against him. Look at the Hornets, how George Shinn just upped and left Charlotte like that, now they're stuck in the Midwest division with the Spurs and Rockets. Have you seen their record recently? Do you think that franchise will ever win anything?"
3 "There is danger in the anger of a foolish man, and such a one will see his team get screwed by Hoop God. This I have searched out, it is true."
4 And Bob answered and said: "Look, I have every right to bitch about how I'm being treated. Show me what I did to piss off Hoop God, and I'll stop moaning. I wish he'd just give me back my dish so I can watch King James again."
CHAPTERS 8-101 And Billy answered and said: "Bob, chill out. Hoop God deals in a just manner, and there's got to be some reason for this. Are you sure you weren't secretly on the Lakers bandwagon these past few years? Did you ever cheer for an ACC or SEC school you didn't go to, even for one game?"
2 "Just repent and everything will be alright. Maybe Hoop God will fix your lucky throwback jersey too."
3 And Bob answered and said: "Look, Billy, I agree with you, but nobody can be 100% perfect. I may have bought a Jordan shirt like a frontrunner, but is that so bad that I have to spend the rest of my life eating stale pretzels watching Villanova guarantee games? I don't think so. Hoop God, why did you condemn me to this horrible fate?"
CHAPTERS 11-141 And Zophar answered and said sarcastically: "Oh, look at me, I'm Bob, I'm so blameless. You whine about Hoop God so much, maybe Villanova guarantee games are just too good for you. Look, you get to see Middle F-ing Tennessee State play. What's so bad about that? I saw on this 'Mid-Majority Report' website that they might even win the Sun Belt Conference this year."
2 "Look at the offensive weapons they have. They have Mike Dean, a 6-3 guard who can shoot the lights out. And there's Georgia transfer Steve Thomas, who's a power forward with a great NBA body. And don't forget swingman Michael Cuffee. There's 39 points a game of offense right there between those three."
3 "And they're all seniors too. They could go to the Tournament if they all stay healthy. You might be watching a future Cinderella team here."
4 And Bob answered and said: "Geez, you guys. Lot of help you are. I seriously need some new friends."
5 "Really, what did I ever do to Hoop God? If only I could talk to him, maybe I could defend myself. Show yourself, great crusher of my spirit! And why do you have to be such a big meanie?"
CHAPTERS 15-311 Now it came to pass that Middle Tennessee took the early lead in the basketball game.
2 And the Blue Raiders executed their offense forthwith, and unto Mike Dean came many open three-point looks.
3 And Middle Tennessee had difficulty moving the ball upcourt against the most token of token pressure, which was applied for the duration of the contest.
4 And a backup guard named Jonathan Loe coughed up the ball every time he touched it, leading to easy Villanova baskets.
5 And lo, Villanova led at halftime by two points.
6 But it came to pass that the Wildcats scored 12 unanswered points at the beginning of the second half.
7 And Wildcat center Curtis Sumpter got biblical on that ass, scoring 26 points on 10-for-13 shooting.
8 Moreover, Middle Tennessee committed the cardinal sin of not getting big-man Steve Thomas more involved in the offensive flow.
9 And behold, Middle Tennessee's spirit was broken when Mike Nardi hit two consecutive three-pointers with ten minutes remaining.
11 And it came to pass that many of the assembled basketball brethren left early to beat the traffic.
CHAPTERS 32-371 A younger man sitting close by spoke angrily. His name was also Eli, but was not of relation to the elder Eli. And the younger Eli answered and said: "Excuse me. You might think I'm just a kid, but I go to Villanova and I always pay attention in class. It's a good school, you know."
2 "Bob, Hoop God isn't your enemy. You might not understand why he's putting you through this, but it's probably for your own good. Hoop God is gracious and just and great, and works in ways you will never understand."
3 "Why does the ACC get to stomp all over everyone? Why do white guys from eastern Europe have so much success?"
4 "Why did the U.S. lose the gold medal to the Soviets in 1972? And why does Dick Vitale have a career? These are the eternal basketball mysteries, but you can have faith that they're all part of Hoop God's plan."
5 "So just sit back with some arena nachos and a watered-down fountain-style soft drink of your choice, and enjoy the magic."
CHAPTERS 38-401 As Bob took leave of the Pavilion that night, Hoop God visited him out of a whirlwind, and said:
2 "Gird up your loins like a man! For I will demand of yo'ass, and answer thou to me."
3 And Bob answered, "Whoa. Gird up my what?"
4 And lo, there was some lightning and thunder and Bob fell to the ground. And Hoop God said, "Who is this who tries to drop science without the requisite knowledge? I demand of thee, and answer thou me!"
5 "Where wast thou when the first peach basket was attached to a wall?"
6 "Where wast thou when Texas Western won the NCAA Championship in 1966?"
7 "Knowest thou why I heap my blessings upon Gonzaga, but not St. Mary's or Santa Clara?"
8 And Bob, cowering, answered: "You're right. I suck. I'll shut up now."
9 And Hoop God thundered, "I said gird up your loins like a man, fool! I will question you, and you will answer me."
10 "Canst thou take on the Illinois Fighting Illini by yourself, wearing only a jockstrap?"
11 "Canst thou understand why the NCAA refuses to get rid of the possession arrow?"
12 "Canst thou comprehend the mystery of the 12-seed's power over the five?"
13 "No! Only I know of all these things. I am more powerful than a thousand Moses Malone dunks, more knowledgeable than a thousand Coach K's, faster than a thousand John Lucas III's. I am da bomb!"
CHAPTER 421 Then Bob answered, and said, "You're right, I know you're da bomb. I've talked about things I know nothing about, and I'm really sorry about that."
2 And it was so, Hoop God said to Eli, Billy and Zophar: "My wrath is kindled against yo'asses. Ye have not spoken right, as my shorty Bob has."
3 And Hoop God gave Bob a new Michael Jordan throwback jersey.
4 And Hoop God made it so that Bob never had to attend another Villanova guarantee game so long as he lived.
5 And Hoop God fixed the annual Final Four ticket lottery so that Bob could go every year.
6 And Hoop God fixed Bob's satellite dish and driveway hoop.
7 And Hoop God gave Bob a lifetime subscription to ESPN Full Court.
8 And making Bob's loins fruitful wasn't really Hoop God's department, but he made sure Bob got to see a lot of Viagara and Levitra ads during commercial breaks.
9 And Bob said, "One last question, Hoop God. Could MTSU have realistically won that game?"
10 And Hoop God answered, "I control the referees, I control the arc of the shot, I control the point guard's hand as he guides the ball upcourt. But I can't stop a team from quitting on itself."
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