Friday, January 4, 2008

Little Rhody

I'm jumping the gun a little bit since this game isn't until Wednesday, but I have so much expert knowledge of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (see? I know the official name) I couldn't wait.

That, and I have little to no actual life, and thus, nothing to do on a Friday night. This is due in large part to the fact that I live in Rhode Island, so this is really all coming full-circle.

I have lived in Rhode Island for two years or so. It's not a bad place. Very small, or course. They're sort of proud of this. I don't actually know how many square miles it is, but it's not very many. You can drive from one corner to the other in about an hour. When I was home for Christmas, this kid kept asking me why I hadn't gone for a run across the whole state, and I was like, "It's kind of far, and I'm not very good at running. Asthma and weak quadriceps muscles, and everything." And he was like, "Fuck that. Isn't it like five miles wide up at the top?" And I was like, "No. I think you're thinking of Delaware." He insisted it was Rhode Island. Incorrect.

Anyways, yeah, it's not a bad place. Nice beaches. Close to Boston. Lots of Italian people. They're kind of insane, as a group.

Also, basketball.

I think half the people in the state are realizing this year for the first time that their own university has a basketball team. College basketball just isn't a huge deal, except maybe for a small but dedicated group of Providence fans. Providence has had some success.

The University of Rhode Island -- not so much. Unless you count an already disgraced Jim Harrick winning some games but becoming further disgraced by somehow getting Lamar Odom into school then having his assistant coach son run a class that all his basketball players could take and pass because the exam questions were easy. I think that was more fail than success.

But these days, the Rams are rolling. Jim Baron, who I once saw on URI's campus wearing a bomber jacket and aviators, has his team playing as well as anybody in the A-10, including our own Flyers.

(In that picture, he's saying "Wait, where's my bomber jacket?")

Suddenly, this A-10 opener has become gigantic.

Thus, I present to you a special feature. Random Rhody Thoughts, I'll cleverly call it.

1. Jimmy Baron, Jr. is more than just the only white guy on the team.
He's also really, really good. He shoots 50 percent from the field, which is outrageous for an outside shooter. He will shoot from anywhere. One of his favorite spots is the CVS logo on the floor at the Ryan Center, which is just about even with the hash mark. (Also near the distractingly large Ram logo at center court).

Now, if you want to taunt him, I have just the thing. Start chanting, "Billy's Better!" He has a brother named Billy who plays high school basketball up here. If he hears that, he'll be like, "What? That doesn't make sense. He's in high school." But you'll be inside his head. Start throwing out things like "You were better when you played for head coach Jamal Gomes at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island" and he'll be in the fetal position soon enough.

2. Mbang.
This is a real name, belonging to Cameroon-born Joe Mbang, who's a pretty good player. His name has garnered him a cult following. I thought his first real name would be Jowantabobukar or something, but apparently, it's just Joe.

3. North Carolina stole everything.
URI fans -- I have the privilege of knowing several -- are convinced that UNC stole their entire athletic identity, namely the powder blue, the Ram and their fight song. I'm not sure about the fight song, but the Ram and the blue are legit. What does a Ram have to do with a Tar Heel? (Really, though, what does it have to do with Rhode Island? I've yet to see a Ram). And if you call Rhode Island blue Tar Heel Blue, you're getting punched in the face.

4. Rhode Island is home to several major corporations, including CVS and Hasbro.
I don't know why I put this in.

5. Even they hated Dustin Hellenga.
Remember him? Skinhead. Crazy. Made a last-second three to beat the Flyers a few years back. Eventually, he got kicked off the team. URI fans think he was a fucking nutcase.

6. Stupid Cheers vs. Awesome Cheers.

So I went to the Dayton-URI game last year with about 10 URI graduates. They made fun of me mercilessly for the "We are UD" chant that the Dayton section was doing. This from a fan base who's big cheer goes, "Rhody, Rhody, Rhody! Rams, Rams Rams! Rhody! Rams! Rhody! Rams!" It's lame.

7. Narragansett Bay is a pretty nice bay, as bays go.
It's the largest estuary in New England! It includes an archipelago!

8. Quahog isn't an actual town, but Peter Griffin actually exists.
Seriously. There's this guy I know who looks just like him.

9. I'm running out of things to say so I'm checking wikipedia and seeing that Lamar Odom is listed as a notable alum.
Notable attendee, perhaps. Graduation...I dont know.

10. The Rhode Island accent is painful.

"Who da fack ahh da fly-ahs?"

11. There is no 11.
It's a small state.

12. Miss Rhode Island never wins.
If Jerry hadn't dumped the water on the doves, Kramer could have molded a winner.

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