View Full Version : I think Frank Deford has gone senile.

08-03-2006, 09:10 PM
Does this article make any sense to anyone else?

Our United States basketball team, preparing for the World Championships in Japan, has been in camp, in Las Vegas. Now why you would choose to hold camp in the middle of the hottest desert summer ever in the metropolis most front-loaded with sybaritic temptation, I don't know, but in any event, the coach of the team, Mike Krzyzewski, has been most pleased. He said the main point was to develop a real team concept, different from past national teams that have consisted of a bunch of insulated stars, neatly joined by outright selfishness, bound by simmering jealousy.

Coach K assured us that the first week in camp was devoted to establishing "camaraderie." He even plans something of a Communist approach once the championships start, in which every game will feature a different starting lineup. Evidently, this Soviet-style manifesto has pleased members of his hoops collective, and all reports are that the previously self-centered All-Stars have bought into the plan.

"Buy into" is what new coaches want to hear from their charges. It's an important sports concept, regularly articulated.

At the same time, of course, preseason NFL camps are also under way. In the world of sports bivouacs, these are not happy camps. They are purposely hidden away at backwater college campuses, where the monstrously large football mesomorphs must cavort under the searing sun, be-helmeted, in all their hot and bulky pads. Far from being able to enjoy the libertine delights of Las Vegas, the behemoths are bedded down in dormitory rooms, like ... well, like campers.

Football camps are not any fun to watch, either. Not only are they located out in the hinterlands, but in camp, football players seldom actually play football. It's too dangerous. Someone might get hurt. I've never understood how football players learn to tackle, since they so seldom do. Mostly in football camp, players dutifully study their playbooks in their dormitories, and, on the hot and humid fields of play, they perform what are called "repetitions." It's horribly tedious.

Of course, the most agreeable camps of all are baseball camps. Well, hardly anybody even calls them camps anymore. It's called spring training, but nobody trains much down there in the resorts of Florida or Arizona. Everybody plays sociable games, fitting them in around their leisure time on the areas' many lovely golf courses.

It used to be that spring training was necessary, inasmuch as most of the players spent the winter working at the hardware store or selling insurance. Also, a fair number needed the spring to dry out. Now they're so rich that baseball players don't need offseason jobs, so they spend their winters working out with personal trainers, arriving for spring training already trained. Since a great many of them live in the Caribbean or are domiciled in their Sun Belt mansions, many actually go north to spring camp. Now that's a modern twist, isn't it?

It's something to think about as our basketball comrades play an exhibition Thursday night in Vegas against Puerto Rico before breaking camp and flying off to the Orient while sweaty football camps out there in the stifling sticks go on ... and on. But football players, being football players, suck it up. En masse, in perpetuity, they have bought into it.

08-03-2006, 09:19 PM
Sounds like a fragmented rambling to me.

I think the greasy stuff Frank uses to slick his hair back has seeped into his brain.