Originall posted on Jan. 20, 2009:
After spending the past week sitting with my two brothers as our 86-year-old father is tended to by the doctors and nurses of the Intensive Care Unit of Athens Regional Medical Center, I feel a bit disconnected from the world at large, including the sports world. But believe me, when someone you love is seriously ill, the ups and downs of college athletics are less than a top priority.
Not completely out of mind, though. My brother Jon the gymnastics fan has kept us up to date on the Gym Dogs. And sitting with our uncle the other day talking about Dad, we still managed to touch briefly on the football prospects for next season and the budding disaster that is the current UGA men’s basketball team. We even caught a few minutes of that best-forgotten game against Kentucky between hospital visits.
Before Dad fell ill last week, I had planned on writing about the always-next-year nature of the basketball program under Dennis Felton … and that was when they were still two games up in the win column. The point of discussion was to be the standard excuse for Felton’s teams that they’re “very young.” Unfortunately, because of players lost to injury, academics and clashes of will with the coach, Felton’s teams seem never seem to grow up. Georgia basketball has become sort of Dennis Felton’s Never Never Land. Earlier in the season, I thought the current team’s youth and the promise of Trey Thompkins might buy Felton at least another season. But now I’m not so sure. The dismal effort shown by the Dawgs since they entered conference play seems to be a symptom of more than just youth. They don’t look very well coached. It might come down at season’s end to whether Damon Evans and Michael Adams think anyone better than Felton is available and willing to embark on yet another rebuilding project in Athens. But, then, we had come to that conclusion last year before the Dawgs’ remarkable run to the SEC Tournament title changed all that.
For a while at least. If I’ve had any lesson reinforced in this past week, it’s that you have to take things one day at a time and that you should never lose hope, no matter the odds. A good thing to keep in mind.