Thursday, January 31, 2008

English 101


Exam Number One
January 31, 2008

1) Which of the following sentences is correct?
A. During that losing streak, the Dayton Flyers were a bad team.
B. During that losing streak, the Dayton Flyers played badly.
C. All of the above.
D. None of the above.

If this were an actual English exam, you would have to answer C. Both sentences are gramatically correct, with the correct usage of an adjective (A) and an adverb (B).

But this is a PB&aB English test. I don't give a shit about grammar. In that case, the answer should be B, even though, not too long ago, many of us feared it might be A.

That was my revelation today as I thought about the blowout win over St. Louis. When the sky was falling Saturday night after the loss to Richmond, I was convinced that without Charles Little and without Chris Wright, this was a bad team.

In reality, they just played badly.

In trying to avoid the falling sky, I know I couldn't make that separation. It seemed so black and white -- injuries decimate the team so much that the team suddenly becomes pretty bad. How else to explain a complete debacle at Xavier and an even more surprising debacle at Richmond? The Flyers had lost two key players, and as a result, had turned in their two worst performances of the season. It made sense, and it scared the shit out of me.

Thankfully, it's not really true. The Flyers played terribly in those two games -- and without Wright and Little, they had no margin for error. But, as a team, they are not terrible. They aren't as good, but they still aren't bad.

"Last week was like a Twilight Zone," Brian Gregory said.

And he's right. The Flyers looked like they forgot how to play basketball. Those of us envisioning a doomsday scenario thought it might not matter even if they remembered. But it did. The Flyers played their game against St. Louis and played it extremely well.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's still going to be touch-and-go until the walking wounded make it back. But with my grammar lesson complete, I feel much better.

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