Charles Bukowski once said poetry is like a beer shit. He meant it as a compliment; in fact he could think of no higher praise. To him a warm beer shit represented dirty realism, an urgency for the elemental, a celebration of baseness. The stink was a reminder of man’s primal essence, unencumbered by the superfluities of his world.
Harvard-Florida St. was a beer shit. The first half—with its historically low scoring output—was offensive (as in, unpleasant), and it was hardly redeemed by the relatively explosive second period. The Twitter-verse rightly derided the contest as ugly. But at least to this viewer, it was also poetry.
With shots misfiring from all over the court, each possession carried a heightened importance; each made basket was extra precious, knowing that this field goal might make the ultimate difference. This urgency translated into a competitiveness so palpable that, despite my mounting frustration at the two stalled offenses, all I could think was, “Wow, these guys are playing hard.” And isn’t that the essence of the game?
On most days, we celebrate skill and virtuosity, but, really, talent is only part of the equation. Hard work and desire are fundamentally the game’s fuel. Because talent was on a low-burn yesterday (and that’s being generous), we got to glimpse these teams’ reserves. It became a battle of wills rather than a battle of skills. And, while those who favor aesthetics likely prefer the latter, the former has its own kind of Bukowskian beauty.