Brush with (semi-)greatness
March 26, 2007 Leave a comment
This week I’m teaching an XML class in NYC. It’s actually a basic XML class along with some XML schema training, in order to help the client work with data coming from external sources. I’ll know more when the class starts tomorrow, but I expect to work with fairly sophisticated schemas.
Since the class is in New York and I hate driving through New York (despite my recent activity there), I decided to take the train from New Haven. NH is about a 40 minute drive for me, but I can pick up the Acela there, which is clean, fast, and about a thousand times more comfortable than any plane I’ve been on in last year.
My hotel is just a block away from Madison Square Garden. I decided that it might be fun to go to a Knicks game. I’ve never been to one. Heck, I’ve only been to one NBA game at all, and that was years ago. All I remember is sitting in the nose-bleed section at a Philadelphia 76ers game way back in the 80s, though it might have been the 70s.
I only needed one ticket, so I asked for the best seat available. The result was that I blew my entertainment budget for the next six months (which is sad, because I already spent that last month, but so be it) and wound up with a floor seat about six rows behind the Knicks’ bench. Isiah Thomas himself blocked my view of the free-throw line.
As it turned out, the guy next to me was Isiah’s nephew. (I’d mention his name here but I can’t remember it. :() He continually interpreted Isiah’s signals for me, i.e., “now they’re gonna go full court press followed by a 3-2 zone,” or “this next play will be a screen for Marbury.” It was really fun that way. I was just glad I hadn’t said anything about Isiah before I realized who I was sitting with.
As a fan of Bill Simmons, I’m abundantly aware of Isiah’s staggering weaknesses as a coach and especially as a GM. When the guy next to me claimed the Knicks would be in the finals in three years, I managed not to say anything, but just barely.
The Knicks had a 3 point lead near the end, then gave up a 3, then took a shot that was clearly goal-tended but wasn’t called, then gave up another 3. Finally, with less than ten seconds to go and a 3 point deficit, Marbury decided to drive to the basket (??) and his shot was blocked, effectively ending the game. The crowd went home unhappy, but I had fun.