Essays

Vol. 1 Kyle Whelliston November 13, 2004  5
The Beautiful Season

It is designed to do a lot of things, but it certainly is not designed to break your heart. The game begins in the late autumn, when everything else has shriveled and fallen and died. Its blossoms come slowly in winter's course like crocus starts popping through icefields. And when it does stop, it ...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 1, 2005  3
The Mid-Majority vs. Restatements of Theme

This is 1 in a series of 10 early-season essays.The ball makes no secret of itself; to grasp full control requires both hands. The primary instrument of our game announces its presence loudly - to maneuver the ball across the playfield is to print it repeatedly against the wood court with typewriter...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 3, 2005  4
The Mid-Majority vs. Success

This is 2 in a series of 10 early-season essays.I think we can all agree that progress is a good thing: forward is preferable to back, and up is a hell of a lot better than down. Progress is all about development, advancement, evolution. If you examine our history as a planet, you'll notice that a...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 4, 2005  4
The Mid-Majority vs. Total Chaos

This is 3 in a series of 10 early-season essays.In 1891, as James Naismith considered the equation of ball and hoop, a French physicist named Henri Poincaré was contemplating a similar issue involving roundish objects. Kepler's laws of planetary motion had only dealt with the orbit of one pla...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 7, 2005  4
The Mid-Majority vs. Quality

This is 4 in a series of 10 early-season essays.With five seconds remaining in overtime, the home team was down by a single point. A packed and sweltering arena roared. The wise old coach, a veteran of these tense situations, quickly drew up a play during the final timeout and sent his charges back ...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 14, 2005  3
The Mid-Majority vs. Hoop Operas

This is 5 in a series of 10 early-season essays.It was a dark and stormy night. The villain, sweater-vested and scowling, paced the floor. Boo! Hiss! the audience cried. But just then, the mood was leavened by a comic-relief appearance of the drunk clown, teetering and leering at girls half his age ...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 2 Kyle Whelliston November 17, 2005  4
The Mid-Majority vs. The Age Limit

This is 6 in a series of 10 early-season essays.There are 4,484 young men currently playing Division I college basketball for 334 schools. These players come of all shapes, sizes and ability levels. Some are thin, some are fat, some think they'll wear a draft-night hat. Some are far and some are nea...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 1, 2007  4
Dedication

First, this. In mid-August, I was inside a cube-shaped Pilot Travel Center alongside an otherwise barren and remote stretch of northern Pennsylvania. That's where I met someone who might be the tallest truck stop employee in America. He must have been about 6-foot-8, at the very least. The mop he p...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 2, 2007  6
Specialness

There's an annual event -- if that's a phrase suitable and grey enough to describe something that doesn't cut it as a tradition -- here in our household. Every year around this time, the satellite television company beams in a solid week of unlimited American professional basketball in a free previe...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 3, 2007  4
The Struggle

Mid-major universities tend to fall in one of three categories. There are the expensive and tiny religious schools in remote and leafy locations, flame-keepers of Christian subsects born out of the Great Schisms. You have your specialized colleges: the teacher's schools, the agriculture and mining i...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 4, 2007  5
Your Opinion Is Important

The New Hampshire boarding school I attended is located on a remote hilltop, in a broadcast television dead-spot and a half-hour's walk from the nearest cash register. Back in the 1980's, before WiFi brought the world together, our only contact points with the real world were the radio and the Bosto...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 5, 2007  6
Hockey and Me

In 1995, five years into my stay out in Oregon, I became homesick for the opposite coast, the one I grew up on. The feeling started as confusion and frustration, which grew into a acute sense of not belonging, culminating in a crystalline realization. I missed hockey. My New York Rangers had won th...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 6, 2007  5
Of 20-Sided Dice, and Quant-Based Analysis

Here's another story we won't have time for later. When I was 12, I went through a phase that most failed child prodigies go through, the fitful burst of youthful creativity and frustration that comes right before the realization that girls are interesting. For me, it manifested itself in a short-li...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 7, 2007  6
Sports Blogs, R.I.P. (2004-07)

Before throwing the switch, he gathered his thoughts in the virtual darkness, choosing his words carefully. He didn't know who was out there on the other side -- who his audience would be, whether or not he would be able to find one. If an audience for someone like him even existed. This was somethi...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 8, 2007  6
Living Without Football

It was an easygoing, unassuming late-summer Saturday in Rhode Island. I had completed my weekend house-husband chores (saving the stinky litter boxes for last, as usual), then prepared for a long, languid afternoon of relaxation on the patio. I contemplated the birdfeeder, turning out a few chamber-...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston November 9, 2007  6
Changes Around Here

Once upon a time there was a tiny little cell, one among a million billion, sloshing and sliding inside a gigantic and vibrant and heaving body. The tiny little cell did its tiny little job as well as it tiny little could, and during its time off it had fun bouncing around with other tiny little lik...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 4 Kyle Whelliston January 21, 2008  3
The Red Line

It's never going to end. We might try to fight it, we may try to ignore it, but every year it's going to come back. I'm talking, of course, about the endless debate of what a "mid-major" is and what one isn't. Within the past few weeks, we've had weigh-ins here, here, here and on countless blogs. W...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 5 Kyle Whelliston November 1, 2008  5
The Big Picture

First in a series of nine daily essays leading up to the 2008-09 college basketball season. It's not supposed to work out for the best, and the system is designed to anticipate failure. On March 21 in Birmingham, the four lower seeds wore their extra digits like anchors, eliminated one after another...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 5 Kyle Whelliston November 2, 2008  7
Goliath

Second in a series of nine daily essays leading up to the 2008-09 college basketball season. This being the first Sunday of The Mid-Majority's Season 5 (and a Daylight Savings-adjusted morning upon which thousands of churchgoers will miss their services), it's as good a time as any for a Bible story...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Vol. 5 Kyle Whelliston November 3, 2008  4
Conduit

Third in a series of nine daily essays leading up to the 2008-09 college basketball season. New technology always takes time to find its proper place, to soak into the mainstream. Over three centuries passed before the printing press changed from a luxury item for the powerful into a tool of the pe...