As I go about my days, friends and strangers and waitresses always smile and ask me how I'm doing. If you've been out of the house yet today, it's probably happened to you at least once or twice. Asking after others is one of those things that helps keep our society kind and civil.
When people inquire as to how I'm doing, I occasionally reply, "Unbelieveable."
That's a good one, I suggest you try it. Watch how folks respond, you'll be able to read them like a book. Some will wrinkle up their face and say, "Really? That bad?" Others will smile and say, "That good?" Saying one word, "unbelieveable," is like holding a mirror to their face.
I try to mix it up. Occasionally I'll say, "I don't mind hitting bottom, I just hate dragging." That always gets a sympathetic laugh, except when it's a somber situation like a funeral or a hospital emergency room. Then it's just not appropriate.
Or they might say, "How you doin', Coach?" And I'll respond, "Today's the best day of my life."
When I was an assistant coach at BYU, before airline security was the way it is now, I flew into Minneapolis on a recruiting trip. I looked like an unmade bed. A worker at the airport asked me, "How are you doing this morning, sir?" "Today's the best day of my life, thank you for asking."
"Why? Are you getting a divorce?" he asked.
I got to the game, and tried to find a seat in the bleachers. I asked somebody if a seat was taken, and it wasn't. "How are you today?" they asked kindly.
"Today's the best day of my life."
"Really? Are you getting married?"
I couldn't believe it! I was divorced and married in the space of three hours. It got me to thinking about how everybody sees the world through their own eyes. Our outlook and attitude determine how we view the outside world, and we always have the opportunity to take a positive approach.
Once I returned to Provo the next day, I walked into the Marriott Center. As I entered the elevator on the ground floor, a BYU fan passed me in the corridor on his way to the ticket booth. "Hey Coach, how're things going?" As I pressed the button, I shouted, "Today's the best day of my life!"
As the elevator doors closed, I heard the man calling out after me, "You must have had a lot of bad ones!"
Tony Ingle, I Don't Mind Hitting Bottom, I Just Hate Dragging
DAYTON, Oh. -- Coach Ingle has indeed endured a lot of bad days. There was the day his playing career ended via horrific injury at the junior college tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, every day at the arena during his 0-19 stint as an interim midseason replacement at BYU, the day he was fired summarily despite assurances he'd get a fair shot at the full-time head coaching job, and each painful night during his three years away from the game. The grind of the 7-22 season at Kennesaw State during the Owls' final transitional year into Division I was pretty bad too. Most of that is all in the book, which may be turned into a movie sometime soon. (Working title: "Sunrise.")
But there have been best-days-of-his-life too, like when the little school near Atlanta gave him a second chance at coaching a decade ago, and also the day his team won the 2004 D-II national championship. And of course, yesterday.
Most of Kennesaw State's 80-63 home win over Georgia Tech wasn't close. Ingle's Owls jumped out to a 7-2 lead, survived the inevitable second-half burst, and cruised to the seventh Red Line Upset of the season. Like many of KSU's historic wins, it was built on David's slingshot -- ten 3-pointers, including five by junior Spencer Dixon. It was the middle game of a 2-for-1 scheduling agreement with the Ramblin' Wreck, and came a year after an 80-55 pasting in Atlanta proper. I think I know which matchup has a better chance of being re-enacted.
As for the rest of the Sun, the Atlantic Sun that is, this marks the second takedown of the ACC so far this season -- Stetson's defeat of Wake Forest last Friday being the first of all this year's RLU's. These are the only two nonconference wins among the 14 interleaguers the league has played so far, but no matter what the A-Sun's final tally is, these will be the ones that are remembered.
Red Line Upsets
at Saint Mary's 76, Saint John's 71 -- The eighth RLU came just seven hours later, in the dead of night. In the opening stages of ESPN's 24-hour tip-off marathon, the Gaels came back from a first-half deficit, fought off the Johnnies' run, and pulled away late. The biggest question for SMC was definitely not the guard play, but how they'd accommodate for the size vacuum that opened up during the summer. This, however, was an opponent that didn't have much in the way of physical intimidation. But, for now, even without Omar Samhan, it's still all about the G.
The Other 25 is now 8-for-108 against the Big Seven, for a winning percentage of .074.
Black Line Upsets
A more rare form of Line Upset is the "Black" one. This occurs when a team in the lower divisions (II or III), NAIA, or one of the other college collectives rises up and defeats a Division I team in a non-exhibition game. It just so happened that on Monday night, we had our first of the season. California Baptist, a member of the NAIA which is currently transitioning to D-II, defeated Southern Utah last night, 79-69. SUU is currently the western outpost of the Badlands Conference, headed for the Big Sky.
The head coach of the Thunderbirds is Roger Reid, who just so happens to have been the coach fired at BYU on December 17, 1996, an event that began the ill-fated interim stint for Tony Ingle.
Everything fits together.
Game! Of! The! Night!
Butler at Louisville KFC Yum! Center - Louisville, KY 8:00 EST
It's back for another season, and the rules are the same: it can't be the game we're at, and the G!O!T!N! invisible camera crew gets paid up front, in candy cigarettes. In our inaugural Season 7 edition, they're headed to the new arena in Louisville, which replaced an arena I truly loved, Freedom Hall. So we're already off to a bad start, and we haven't even addressed the arena name yet.
So the national runner-ups travel south for the RLU attempt, and do so without Gordon Hayward. Get ready for a lot of discussion about the effect of this absence, but also recall that this is the same media who spent more time covering the opposing coach's sex life than contemplating the Butler Effect. Consider the source. Mr. Hayward was picked before he was ripe enough (he's, umm, struggling up there in the NBA), but he's gettin' paid and will get in a year's worth of salary before The Lockout, so he's rich ("G-Time," indeed) and brilliant.
The rest of the Bulldogs seem to be okay. The guard axis of Mack-Nored-Vanzant is great. The team turned in a solid performance in Saturday's glorified exhibition-slash-banner raising, and the best part of that was how good Andrew Smith looked. He was the 6-11 unsung hero of the Kansas State Elite Eight game, and will be a key cog this year. It's unfair to predict another run to the title game -- the late rounds can get pretty random, you know -- but wouldn't that be something if this turns out to be a far superior Butler team? Munge that, future historians.