THE BIG DANCE A “Persuasive” Paper Jeff Patterson University of Phoenix 22 May 2005 THE BIG DANCE It is an event that happens every year and one in which I look forward to with great anticipation. There are those who have such a high interest that they invest not only a great deal of money, but also the effort to debate and argue their position with great gusto. I do not refer to which team they devoutly back, but the level of competition and the greatness of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) basketball tournament in comparison with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) playoff tournament. I do not view professional basketball with much vigor as I see the league as dominated by money, greed, and hype.
While the NCAA and its tournament also features money and hype, it also displays the excitement and unpredictability that enhances its allure and its greatness. Give me March Madness and the excitement when an underdog not only wins, but wins big over a traditional powerhouse. To me, there is no greater athletic competition in existence today than this annual display of talent, skill, and determination.” Two overtimes. A buzzer-beating block. Two last-effort three-pointers to keep the game alive. Six players fouling out.
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A seven beating a two. An NCAA Tournament classic.” (Creditor, A. , Inside Hoops. com, Mar. , 2005) Sure you can find the excitement of many games in any level of competition. But to have all the above happen in just one weekend of high stakes tournament basketball year after year is pure heaven.
The NCAA has created an athletic event featuring 65 teams of all levels of competition, each manned by 12 players of all levels of ability, and in three short weeks, created utter bliss for the basketball fanatic. All this from a field of 326 teams that make up the Division I ranks. Compare these facts with the more popular NBA playoffs. There are a mere 30 teams in this professional league. They play more games in a season; 82 versus the 76 total games played by the two teams who played in the National Championship game – combined! I cannot think of a more compelling reason as to why I perceive the NBA to be so boring.
They drill it into your head with way too many meaningless games. These are games that are played for no other reason than to bring in money. Yes, in my humble opinion, these “professionals” are not in it for the love of the game, but for the love of money. That does not mean that they do not love the game but I do perceive their view of the game tinted green and I believe that to be just wrong. For example, the top NBA players get paid $30 to $40 million dollars a year to play a game.
In contrast, the top NCAA players get paid tuition, books, and whatever else might be covered in their scholarship. They might get somewhere close to $100, 000 in their whole four years of schooling. And that depends largely upon the size, reputation, and whether the school is state funded or private. Let us again compare. In the NCAA level, you will find players referred to as forwards, guards, and centers.
Not so in the NBA where you will find franchise players. Granted, you will also find forwards, guards, and centers in the NBA, but these guys are the proverbial bench warmers. The NBA seems to generate a great deal of hype before, during, and after the season as to whom they can acquire by draft, trade, and any other means with the idea of having a franchise player. They waste no effort flashing wads of green in the faces of high school children, college student athletes, and other professional basketball players in order to build up the allure of their business. Getting back to the NCAA, I concede that they also flash a great deal of green at high school recruits in an effort to have them both attend and play at their university. One major difference lies in the fact that college has so few dollars to devote to sports – often fielding up to 14 teams in their programs – that to compare this aspect seriously is a laughable cause.
A man by the name of Dr. James Naismith was one day faced with the problem of finding a sport that was suitable to play inside during the cold winters. Naismith was in charge of the YMCA in Massachusetts and in 1891, he invented the game of basketball. Naismith wanted to create a game of skill for the students instead of one that relied solely on strength. He needed a game that could be played ...
No my dear readers, in the college ranks, hopeful and talented basketball players are brought in to learn and enhance their skills. These skills are required to be a forward, guard, or a center on a successful team. It is with that realization that I make my last point. Basketball is a game of finesse, skill, and most importantly; heart. A basketball player develops this attribute in stages as he or she continues to play in the different levels of competition. In the earliest years, they begin with the excitement of trying to imitate their favorite player and the learning of the necessary skills that ultimately decide whether a basketball career is for them.
They play for fun and nothing is ever serious, save actually dribbling down the court and making a basket. Next comes the high school level where they begin to learn the skills of team work and that competition truly means something. Being named a State Champion is a good way to meet girls and be considered cool. However, very few actually demonstrate the heart and commitment to play beyond their means. This happens when they finally reach college and the NCAA. Finally, after years of losing the BIG game by a point way too many times, heart and determination really begin to show.
It is now them who contribute with 11 other players to allowing their opponents to experience and grow from losing by that one point. You see it every time a team combines to play to their highest levels and defeats a team heralded as one of the nation’s best. You see this level in the way they carry themselves off the court. They are ladies and gentlemen of the highest caliber and not merely the star player. But from here, their heart and love for the game seems to diminish. Greed and fame seems to have tarnished and faded the heart it took to get them into the professional arena.
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As professional basketball players, I have noticed that they seem to be willing to let the close one get away, especially when there seems so little riding on the game. I imagine that they realize and accept with a who cares attitude that there will always be another game. This is another point in my favor especially when you start looking at the playoffs. In the NBA, you will always see a Game 2 and could often see a Game 7.
This is something you will never see in the NCAA Tournament. To win a national championship, a team must win 6 in a row without losing. In the NBA, team must win 15 games. Along the way, they can afford to actually lose up to 11 games. I see it as ironic that a champion of a tournament can be declared after losing to other teams within that tournament.
For the March Madness, you lose, you do not have a second chance. You have to win to advance. There is no tomorrow. There might be a next year, but by then, it is too late. You held back for a moment and in that moment, without all the heart required by a champion, you go home defeated in the game, in your mind, and in your heart. For me, there just is not any comparison between the NCAA Championship and the NBA Championship.
The NCAA offers greater diversity of teams and levels of competition. They present a tournament meant for team champions and not greedy individuals. Only in the NCAA Tournament do you find athletes joining together their individual hearts and forging an entity that surpasses anything I know of to reach a goal. It is a tournament where there is only tomorrow if the goal is accomplished with a greater desire and heart than your opponent. It is the ultimate presentation of all that makes playing a simple game of basketball worthwhile. Such is why I find the excitement, unpredictability, and fascination irresistible – after all, it is madness in all its greatness..