Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nobody Beats the Wiz!

Much to my surprise, with the exception of following the exploits of the Iraqi national soccer team (largely because of the celebratory fire that followed each match) and watching the U.S. play Italy in the World Cup with a group of burly carabinieri, I haven't posted nearly as much about sports as anyone who knows me would have expected.

There are three reasons for this. First, blogging about something like sports has always seemed horribly self-indulgent. (And I know, this is from somebody who at least once a month posts pictures of his son).

Second, the difference in time zones means that all games during prime time Eastern Standard Time are televised at 0300/0400 here. I get up early, but there are few sporting events worth getting up that early for. In fact, I'm trying to come up with excuses for why I want to watch two teams I couldn't care less about in the Super Bowl this Sunday when the game doesn't start until 0230 here, and I still have to work the next day. (In Korea in the 1990s, the Monday after the Super Bowl was a work holiday for U.S. forces).

Third, to be honest for the most part my teams stunk up the joint in 2006. The Nationals came back to Earth after their inaugural season, Maryland basketball missed the tournament for the second year in a row, Johns Hopkins lacrosse was unspectacular in defense of its national championship, and don't even get me started on the nightmare that was the Redskins season. If I had to pick a year of sports to miss completely, this was the one.

However, there is one exception to the malaise DC sports teams appear to be suffering through: the Washington Bullets . . . er, I mean Wizards.

Last night the Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 104-99 to improve to 27-17, the best record in the Eastern Conference. Granted, their 1.5 game lead on three other teams isn't likely to last until the end of the season. Granted, that with their porous defense they are not exactly built for grind of the NBA playoffs. And granted, the best team in the East likely isn't as good as the fourth best team in the other conference.

But after waking up every Monday morning to another Redskins loss, or seeing that Maryland dropped another game to Duke, it is nice to get some good news from an area sports team for a change. It is especially satisfying given the number of years the Bullets . . . er, Wizards, were the absolute dregs of the league.

Going to see the Wizards play in person (even if those new home uniforms are the single-ugliest sports uniform since the Chicago White Sox wore shorts in the 1970s) is just another thing I have to look forward to when I get home (in 40+ days now), especially if I get to hear Gilbert Arenas yell "Hibachi" when he drains a three-pointer.