Showin’ Some Love: A Panel Discussion

showin' some love

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Love Moderately

You probably know that I’m first and foremost a Bulls fan.  It’s been a tough couple of years, but I think we are finally on the upswing and ready to seriously compete.  But as good as my Bulls are, I can’t deny the Cavaliers are going to be extremely good, especially with the impending acquisition of Kevin Love.

How good?

That’s a matter of debate.

I heard on ESPN today that Vegas is placing the Cavaliers as three-to-one favorites to win the whole enchilada next season.  Wha-huh?  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, guys.

Yeah, LeBron James is the best basketball player in the entire world – no doubt.  Yes, the Cavaliers look great and if they get Ray Allen to join they are only getting better.  But you cannot discount the Bulls, and you certainly can’t ignore the eternal phenomena known as the San Antonio Spurs.  The Trailblazers, the Warriors, and the Clippers could also go all the way if they get hot.  Heck, I’ll be honest, I think the Heat have even recovered from James’ exit pretty well.

Yes, Kevin Love is fantastic and I’m glad he’s going to get a chance to play for a team trying to win immediately.  But, as Miami’s big three can tell you from their first year, there’s something called chemistry that must come into play.  Irving, James, and Love have never played together on the same floor at the same time as far as I know.  They each excel at their position, they each spread the court, and they each do their own unique thing that shouldn’t trample on the others’ egos, but I think they’ll still need a year to build that elusive chemistry.

So, let’s take a breath and slow that championship talk down.  What’s going on with the Cavaliers is wonderful for the league, for the players involved, and especially for the community, but I think we need to avoid getting caught up in the moment.  Will they escape the East?  Yeah, I can see that.  But can they beat the West?  Right now I’m inclined to say no, but we’ll have to wait and see the guys actually play together before we can know for sure.

Wait and see … that’s not a popular concept among people who talk sports, is it?

You know I love my Billy Shakespeare, and as he told us in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, “Love moderately.”

Crossover Dribble by PJ Farris – A Book Review

One thing’s for sure: PJ Farris knows basketball!

In this young adult novel released by Mayhaven Publishing, Joe Perkins is a young man desperately in love with the game of basketball and willing to do anything to improve his playing skills.  However, his father—a hardworking, relentless farmer—is constantly after Joe to help out more on the farm.  Joe concedes, but always with his mind on the courts.

Unfortunately, Joe’s father becomes seriously injured in a car accident and now Joe, along with his grandfather, must somehow meet the farm’s every need if they hope to keep it alive.  Before long, they hire Cuda, an older boy and star basketball player.  An unlikely bond forms between the two ballers, and Joe even learns a thing or two from both his granddad and Cuda.  But will their combined efforts be enough to keep the farm afloat in the father’s absence?  And will his sudden preoccupation with the farm prevent Joe from reaching his basketball goals?

Farris did a nice job of providing a streamlined story full of conflict, tension, and humor.  Joe underwent serious change throughout the novel, which is always the sign of strong characterization.  In fact, all of the main players were believable and utilized a distinct, charismatic personality.  Even Joe’s father—dour as he was—proved to be multilayered and identifiable in the end.

As mentioned, the novel had some truly funny moments, but it also contained very serious, life-threatening situations as well.  Farris juggled the changes in tone seamlessly, and, like life, one led to the other and then back again without much ruckus.

Being from a small, rural community, I especially appreciated the accuracy of farm life displayed throughout the story.  Farris has obviously spent time in the country because the farm machinery, livestock, industry methods, and even dialogue reflected the reality of country life.

Moreover, Farris knows the game of basketball.  No matter what Joe does, he always relates it to his game, often recounting lessons from his coach and things he’s learned on the court.  Farris, through narration, delivers several fundamentals of basketball in such a way that readers can’t help but pick up a helpful tip or two about the sport.  Best of all?  Everything mentioned about basketball is correct and essential to playing well.  If I had to guess, I’d say Farris has coached a player or two over the years.

Crossover Dribble has crossover appeal to all readers, whether they are basketball fans or those wanting to read about farm life.  Young adults will surely find the novel approachable, informative, and exciting.