PHILADELPHIA -- This blog has been involved in several pet causes... heck, this entire thing is a pet cause. But TMM is getting involved in a new charitable campaign that strikes to the heart of what's important in Our Game. This is all about getting Drexel students to adopt proper rollout procedures.The rollout
is Philadelphia's second-greatest gift to college basketball, between the Palestra (No. 1) and streamers (No. 3). Crepe cascades after first baskets are long gone thanks to no-fun rules and technical fouls, the Cathedral may not last another century, but rollouts are forever. Drexel (which is "my school," after all) had a wonderful epoch-making win yesterday morning,
and several of the students' fledgeling missives were very good ("If Ben Franklin was alive today, he'd be a Drexel engineer"
was devastating enough to leave the Penn section calling back meekly, "Dre-xel High School").
But the execution was downright embarrassing.
Yesterday, the long paper rolls were unwrapped along the front row of a section, then passed upwards and backwards over the crowd. Once in the back row, the endline section did the right thing and tore it up into a million little pieces (good). But the sideline section moved the rollout over the rest of the crowd as if it was a crowd-surfer at a Pearl Jam concert. At one point, I saw someone roll up the rollout after a few minutes. I couldn't believe my eyes.
I was able to buttonhole one of the organizers, and I made a hand gesture indicating that rollouts, like bodies in motion and apples, tend to follow the rules of gravity -- they go down
. "We do it a little differently here," came the reply.
I've rarely been this embarrassed at a basketball game. I wanted to impale myself on a souvenir William Penn statue.
I've noticed in the last 24 hours that Philadelphia is a much friendlier city than it was during the seven years I lived here, and I'm attributing that to a.) the world champion Phillies, and b.) "Phillies sex," which I imagine occurred around the city the night the World Series was clinched, ending decades of internally-directed sports inhibitions in what used to be called the "City of Losers". With all that in mind, I'm sure my old friends in West Philly are more open to friendly advice.
The art of the rollout has been perfected for years in the Palestra, the Fieldhouse, (the?) Pavilion, even that new place at Temple that serves beer. There are reasons why certain things are done a certain way, and it's because they make sense. Bad ideas and broken pieces are removed from a mechanism over time, and Philadelphia rollouts are no exception.
They begin at the top and end at the bottom because when they're held by the front row, then TV cameras, players and other fans can read them better. If it's in the back row, the people in the second-to-last row are in the way of easy reading. If rollouts go from top to bottom, the rollout obstructs the view of the fans in that section for fewer sections. And when they're ripped up in the front row, it makes it easier for the cleanup crew to sweep away the pieces.
Look, I hope Drexel fans keep doing rollouts, and because the number of city games will decrease thanks to Bruiser Flint's demands that the Big 5 play the Dragons home-and home, I hope that there are more during league games. It's one of the few ways that Drexel can put a Philly stamp on the CAA, and the wit is there. Now it's time to honor the city by doing it the right way.Contest Update:
We've been swamped with entries to our first Bally contest of the 2008-09 season. I should have known that the result of dropping the occasional two-dollar word on this site would be a bright, talented and sharp readership. Such well-researched, through entries. I'm now convinced that no other site of this kind draws such smart people. You all put the college back in "college basketball," you really do.
Just a reminder that the contest is open until Friday, winner to be announced next Tuesday, details are here
, and we're going to have to institute a tiebreaker. Because we're looking for a school that lost to a lower-division team and beat a power-conference champion, the final decision will be based on the schedule proximity of the two games (remember, Loyola-Ill.'s loss to a D2 and win over Georgia came on consecutive days). The second tiebreaker, instituted in case two or more people get the same instance, is whomever enters first.
And if you don't win this time, there are plenty of Ballys for some of you. The elves didn't take the summer off.
Finally, couple of RLU's from last night:at Valparaiso 69, Central Florida 52
-- UCF used to be one of us, you know. In the first year of this site, 2004-05, the Golden Knights won the Atlantic Sun and we saw them go down to Connecticut in the NCAA first round. Now, after joining C-USA, they're dead to us. The school has been a popular punching bag for sub-Red Liners since, losing to Nevada and Sam Houston State last season. Last night in the ARC, one of TMM's most beloved gyms, the Crusaders never trailed in destroying UCF by 17, outrebounding their guests by 11 and holding them to 30 percent shooting. Urule Igbavboa (call him "Iggy") double-doubled with 15 and 14.
Montana State 85, at Colorado 82 (OT) -- Out in Big Sky country, three things are for certain. It takes more than a hat to make a cowboy, Rocky Mountain oysters aren't, and Montana State owns Colorado in basketball. Not since 1924 have the Buffaloes beaten the Bobcats, and last night was MSU's sixth straight win in the series. Will Bynum sealed it with three points in the last minute of the extra period.