Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Crumbling Difference Between Wrong & Right

And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.
-Counting Crows

Here in the State of Concrete Gardens, much like in the world inhabited by characters in a Jim Croce song, a smart person does not tug on Superman's cape, spit into the wind or pull the Lone Ranger's mask.  A smart person also does not start a fight with the New Jersey legend known as Bob Hurley, Sr. Not twice anyway.  

Bob Hurley is a New Jersey institution.  He has patrolled the sidelines as the Varsity Basketball Coach for St. Anthony's High School in his hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey since 1972.  In those forty-plus seasons on the bench his Friar teams have won in excess of 1000 games, 27 State Championships (including consecutive titles from 1983-1991) and four National Championships.  He has been voted USA Today's National Coach of the Year three times.  In 2010 he was enshrined in the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame

St. Anthony's High School has a tradition of high school basketball excellence unmatched in New Jersey - and scant few other places.  What it does not have and what it has in fact never had is a gymnasium.  Suffice it to say that under Coach Hurley's watchful eye, the absence of a home floor to call their very own has not hindered the Friars very much.  Then again, when the Coach's day job for more than thirty years is Probation Officer, one suspects that not a lot of time is set aside in the Friars' day-to-day for whining.  

Earlier this winter, the latest place that his squad kind of, sort of called home -  the gymnasium at the M.E.T.S. Charter School - sustained upwards of $160,000 of flood-related damage, which damage included the buckling of the school's gym floor.  The gym was declared unplayable, which means of course that not only can the Friars not host games there but they cannot practice there.  

The erstwhile New Jersey Nets, who left the State of Concrete Gardens in their rear-view for all the fame and fortune one could suck out of Brooklyn prior to the 2012-13 season, still have their practice facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey (a/k/a "the City that actually hosted the 2014 Super Bowl").  Hurley approached the Nets about using their facility to practice a couple of times a week and was informed by the team that the decision regarding the Friars' use of the location was up to the NBA.  Sounds pretty easy, right?  Hall-of-Fame Coach from New Jersey and his kids need a place to practice a couple of times a week while their gymnasium floor works on its Wavy Lay's Potato Chip impression and you tell him "Yes", right?  Easy peasy.  

Not so fast.  The NBA decreed that the Nets granting Coach Hurley's team access to their practice facility would constitute a bad precedent.  A bad precedent?  Huh.  Confused as to how exactly?  Me too.  Fear not.  We are not the only ones.  A certain high school hoops coach from Hudson County, New Jersey is too.  Sayeth the coach, "I guess the precedent would be helping someone who needs help."  

Being confused is one thing.  Being pissed off is another thing entirely.  Wanna guess, upon further reflection, which one Coach Hurley is now?  This might be the easiest multiple-choice test you ever take: 



Coach Hurley is spot on about one thing regarding the NBA:  its "NBA Cares" commercials do tug at one's heartstrings, saying all the right things and hitting all the right chords:


Although I suppose from the point of view from one rather torqued off high school coach at a small school in Hudson County, New Jersey, those spots simply reinforce the old adage about the relatively inexpensive cost of talk....

....even when the words are coming out of the mouths of athletes earning millions of dollars a year.

-AK

1 comment:

RC O'Leary said...

any resolution to this? Sound like letting St. A's use the facility would be a no-brainer great PR move.