The Battle in Allen Field House

  • This was a week of stormings. The nation’s most hallowed space (AFH) was stormed twice this week. The 2nd most hallowed building fortunately only had to endure it once when a mob had a temper tantrum and thought it would be fun to terrorize and even kill those entrusted to its halls.

    A week ago a horde of Longhorns came in shooting at will. The defenders of the Fieldhouse were powerless to stop the onslaught. The arbiters of the court were willing to look the other way as Longhorns violated the very basic principles of Naismith’s laws just outside in the hallways of the venerable building. By the end of the day, the interlopers left triumphantly. If there was a silver lining most of the witnesses were made of cardboard and just kept smiling throughout.

    The nature of a college basketball schedule of course means that organized mobs of increasingly short shorted teens and otherwise those not yet old enough to imbibe will continue to invade the 94 feet of hardwood and attempt to assert control of the battle.

    So for the 2nd time in a week there was a battle in Allen Field House. This is what George Martin said about it:

    “A great battle is a terrible thing," the old knight said, "but in the midst of blood and carnage, there is sometimes also beauty, beauty that could break your heart.”

    Yes, there was another great battle yesterday. While a week ago the battle was decidedly one sided, this time, like Joshua’s men at Ai, they learned their lessons and were better prepared to face the onslaught. One of the hallmarks of Bill Self’s coaching seemingly is to use a timeout in the first 4 minutes of a game. While over the last 36 minutes of games the Jayhawks are undoubtedly the greatest team in college basketball history. Yesterday after being unprepared for a Sooner invasion the boys in white regrouped. Coach Self reminded his troops of the words of Kansas’ own President Eisenhower: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the Jayhawk in the fight-it’s the size of the fight in the Jayhawk”.

    Sooner intelligence in the battle continually thwarted Jayhawk onslaughts intercepting passes intended to damage the defense of the maroon warriors. Abnormally tall soldiers swatted shots away. Fortunately, the defenders of the Field House were up for the challenge. It brings to mind the words of George Orwell who said “We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.”

    The battle dragged on. These Jayhawks were better equipped to handle those Sooners. Their general is a master at scrapping and clawing even as his soldiers don’t have as advanced weapons as their foes. It’s never easy against General Krueger. General Patton put it succinctly: “The objective of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” General Self would be making sure this would happen.

    The defenders were magnificent. On both sides. The describer of the action was the wonderful Bill Raftery who didn’t give out too many of his trademark ‘whooos’ on successful sorties to the goal but instead at steals and swats and swipes. Garrett was all over. Dave swatted a shot so hard it symbolically signalled that these Jayhawks were going to emerge triumphant.

    Speaking of Raftery, military observers noticed that the other reporter got noticeably more excited at the success of the underdog invaders, a common reaction to us partisans. You see we’re the superpower. We’re the D-Day for every battalion that has designs of triumphing. So it’s understandable when the ascendent five retain hopes of triumphing.

    As the final attempt at victory fell short, like so many others on this hellacious day, the words of Commodore Perry came to mind. “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

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