Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Basketball ... Already?!?!

While football season is going full speed over at the AOL Fanhouse, we can't forget that basketball practice has started around the country, and Tech's young team is gearing up for a run through the ACC in the very near future.

There's been a lot written about the pair of McDonald's All-American freshman that Paul Hewitt brought in this past off-season, but lets not forget about the guys who are already on the roster. Ra'Sean Dickey is still the man in the middle (and one of DraftExpress.com's 15 NBA draft prospects to watch in the ACC), Jeremis Smith is still the enforcer and fiery heart of the team and Anthony Morrow and Lewis Clinch are 25 point games waiting to happen. Throw in other proven performers like Mario West and you have a lot of talent on the roster with experience already - this isn't going to just be the Thad and Critty show like some in the media have been making it sound.

To get you at least a tiny bit excited about basketball (I know it's hard with the football team ranked #13 and heading to Death Valley this weekend), here's a couple of videos to remind of just how much fun this season is going to be in the Thriller Dome.

Jeremis Smith dunks all over Nelson of Duke as Dickie V goes nuts

Jeremis with another vicious dunk against BC

Montage of 4 dunks (including electric ones from Mario and Jeremis) against NC State

Oh yeah, that Thad guy is going to be really good too

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Ugly Side of Winning

Dan wrote a great piece about GT fans earlier this month, and while it explains a lot - I'm not sure it even went far enough, as evidenced by the internet fan behavior of the past 24 hours. Since the moment GT went up 38-13 against VT and the game was basically over, there's been a sea change in the attitude of GT fans and it's very disturbing.

First, we've got "everybody back on board" effect. Sorry, you can't dedicate your existence to bad mouthing the coach, the program, the players, the quarterback, the OC, the stadium and the groundskeeper and then suddenly jump two feet on board the bandwagon when it's those same folks driving it. If you had a poll on your message board in the last two weeks seriously asking if the AD should fire the head coach in the middle of the season, you're off the bandwagon and not welcome back on. If you said you no longer consider yourself a GT fan, that's it - you're off. If you said you were cheering for ND in the opener because you openly hate our coach and want him gone, you're off. If you've mocked everyone who's said "you know, this offense isn't going to be half bad this year", don't come here now and start talking about ACC Championships with that very same offense you wasted so much time ripping.

Yes, I know fans are "fanatical" and do stupid stuff like this all the time, but come on. We claim to be a great educational institution, but I'd swear reading GT message boards and the AJC.com comment sections for the past several years that there's plenty of evidence that even absolute morons are capable of getting a GT degree. The constant backbiting and whining has given the entire program a sour note, and if you've dedicated your past several years to undermining anything good that GT accomplishes, you can keep right on doing that. Don't suddenly change your attitude because of one win by the EXACT SAME PEOPLE YOU HAVE SPENT 4 YEARS SPEWING VEMON AT. Georgia Tech won in Blacksburg because of Reggie Ball, Chan Gailey and Patrick Nix. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

It's one thing to raise legitimate complaints about performance and issues with the program. But it's a whole different ball game to openly root against "your" team, which a number of GT "fans" have done. I've been critical of individual items during Gailey's and Ball's tenure on this blog (after the Utah game, for example), but I've never gone even remotely close to the level of bile displayed by a disgracefully large portion of our fanbase. I have a pretty happy overall outlook about the program (basketball, baseball or football) because I want to enjoy cheering for sports, not spending my weekends making myself and everyone around me miserable. I can't imagine what it's like for guys like Ball, who I secretly hope takes in the applause on senior night after a great final year and just throws the bird to half the stands. If he doesn't, he's a bigger man than me. Heck, during Gailey's post game interview I'm surprised he didn't just say "this was for all the **** that kept calling for me to be fired".

Secondly, and maybe more disturbing - the trash talking element of GT fans is suddenly out in full force. Check out the Maryland board, there's a bunch of people "informing" UMD of just how badly they will be beaten this weekend in Atlanta. Of course, these guys are also the same folks claiming a couple of weeks ago that Chan should be fired because he "always loses to one inferior team" - so I'm not sure how that logic works in the first place (again with that morons graduating from Tech thing). We as Tech fans talk all the time about what unsportsmanlike boors Georgia fans are, but give us one tiny taste of success and it's the same crap. Seriously, stop freaking shaming the majority of us who have three brain cells to rub together and realize what jackasses you are making us look like. The VT win was the biggest of Chan's career, to be sure - AU x2 and UM were nice, but never put us in the ACC drivers seat or in contention for a BCS bowl - but it doesn't suddenly make this football team some sort of invincible force. This isn't mid-90's Nebraska here, and we're supposedly great fans who don't act like fools, so just keep your yapper shut for a few more weeks, ok? I love Tech sports, I'm ambivalent about Tech fans. The "little brother" phenomenom is just so tightly woven into the fabric of the average Yellow Jacket fan I'm afraid it's nearly impossible to remove, and it's an ugly, ugly sight when it gets into the light of day.

/rant off

(oh yeah - actual coverage and commentary on GT is over on AOL now, if you care to read it)