Forget the competition. Dismiss the pressure. Most of all, throw away the distractions. Jim Boeheim and his Syracuse Orange have no use for all of it.
In what may turn into 2012′s version of the Gerry McNamara lecture he gave the assembled Big East media years ago, The Per’fesser poetically summed up this season of potential pitfalls for SU.
“Nothing bothers us. We play. We come ready to play. That’s what you should do in life. Everybody gets bothered. Everyone has problems. I’m much more concerned about my wife being mad at me than anything else… I think Manning should really come to the Jets too.”
There it is. The Dali Llama-like brilliance of Boeheim. Old guy is seriously a Jedi. He’s going to slap down your piddling “expose” reports about drug use, sneer at any pity card, and teach you a little thing or two about life. But then he’s going to zing you with a pithy observation, just to let you know he realizes how trite your little newspaper headlines are.
It wasn’t the greatest game ever by the Orange, but then again how many of those have we actually seen this season? Thirty-one victories and counting, and SU has yet to play a full, lights out, balls to the wall 40 minutes, right? Oh, there’s been some impressive wins. But this one over UConn felt a lot like the rest of the last three months. Syracuse was the better team, jumped out to a lead, let it slip away, then turned on the juice when it mattered most. Most importantly, the Orange closed. Thanks for coming. We’ll see ya tomorrow, everyone.
Syracuse trailed by as many at 8 in the second half, but stormed back behind Dion’s 18. And once again it was an unheralded role player also coming up huge. Previously ice cold James Southerland started raining from three, made two clutch free throws in the final minute, and the SU defense squeezed the life from the Huskies python-style. (Didn’t The Fizz tell you Southerland could be a March factor a few weeks ago?)
Screw the Fine scandal, the drug report, Fab’s academic problems, the questions. Screw Gottlieb’s incessant trolling, the doubters, the cynics. Time to embrace it. When life hands you hate, make haterade. Nothing bothers us. We just play.