March 05, 2004

"This is, in fact, the shameful story: of a small Indiana farming town where the "Hoosiers" ending got turned inside-out, where 800 locals turned into 800 coaches, where anger, however justified against an unpopular basketball coach, turned into a frightening brand of mob madness."

posted by pitchblende to basketball at 11:41 AM - 9 comments

Good link. And a really shameful example of adults acting like characters from Lord of the Flies.

posted by jeffmshaw at 11:59 AM on March 05, 2004

This story has it all. It's like "Hoosiers" with a little bit of "All the Right Moves" mixed in with a side order of Tubby & Saul Smith drama. And here's what I was looking for: The son is, far and away, the best player on the team. There's a reason he's going to play for Steve Alford at Iowa next season. And for all the yammering about Angle's obsession with feeding his son, the statistics show J.R. averages just 16 shots per game.

posted by usfbull at 12:46 PM on March 05, 2004

Relax. It's just a game.

posted by garfield at 01:19 PM on March 05, 2004

So nobody likes the coach, and he got his tires slashed and his car vandalized. Yeah it's a stupid reaction from some stupid people, but the writer sure works hard to sensationalize everything and hint that there are Larger, Deeply Disturbing Social Problems as work here. The vandalism described hardly amounts to "mob madness", at least in the sense of, say, your standard issue Super Bowl celebration. The pastor of the local church didn't want to talk to some reporter, so he receives a backhanded indicment: "There was one person, however, who had nothing to say. Steve Fair, the pastor at Fair Haven Christian Church and the man who resides in the moral center of the town, refused to meet with a reporter to talk about the issues." And small town life itself comes in for some condescending scorn: "Maybe this could happen anywhere. But it's not surprising that it happened in a small town, where there develops a contempt born of familiarity, where small talk turns into loose talk, and one man's business easily turns into everybody's business." This guy should be writing for some supermarket tabloid.

posted by dzot at 02:24 PM on March 05, 2004

dzot, I can't believe you're indicting the reporter. Of all the deplorable acts related to this piece, writing it is the least disturbing. From the sound of it, the entire town still hasn't graduated high school.

posted by garfield at 03:09 PM on March 05, 2004

garfield: "From the sound of it..." It's the sound of it that is suspect. There is some rank stupity (the adults paying the kid to pull the moronic prank) and some legitimate criminal property damage, for which the culprits should suffer. That's that. The guy took it way over the top in characterizing the town so venomously and groping for institutional indictments. It makes me wonder if it isn't sexed up a bit.

posted by dzot at 03:43 PM on March 05, 2004

dzot, I agree, the article is sexed up, but I think that is somewhat inevitable when someone is successful in trying to relate a small town story to a big world audience. Further, the scandalous tone is appropriate: the town isn't pissed at the mercenary kid....they're pissed he got in trouble.....Not exactly your everyday, well-adjusted type of reaction. I'd like to know more about the other team mates, and the degree of talent disparity. Other than that, the town's behaviour is inexcusable and acted like a dethroned clique upset it didn't get its way.

posted by garfield at 04:10 PM on March 05, 2004

This isn't anything new. These kind of feuds boil up all over states with small, rural populations who live vicariously through their hoops teams. I think the elder Angle is getting a bit of a raw deal. You have a good hoss, you ride him. You want to see something nuts, try this bad boy on for size. Nothing like thrown bottles, mace and charges of racism to go along with your basketball.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:20 PM on March 05, 2004

I'm with dzot. Bob Kravitz came to town to write a story on mob madness, and when all he found was some vandalized tires, one sarcastic off-court pass, and a kid losing 22 pounds in a season, he didn't want to have come all that way for nothing. The story reminds me of Daily Show correspondents who exaggerate all of their stories as a gag on the media's penchant for self-importance.

posted by rcade at 01:18 PM on March 06, 2004

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