It's hard being a public figure. Especially in the world of sports and entertainment. You do yourself no favors by reading the newspapers, magazines and websites that cover you. It's full of opinion and reporting by people who aren't there 24 hours a day, who couldn't possibly know the entire truth of each and every situation. You have to interact with many of these people, even if you you don't like them or want to. And you do your best to be a good person but the only thing that ever seems to matter is the results in your given profession, and you can't always control that.
So I get it. I get why Jim Boeheim was so pissed off last night he decided to go personal with reporters from the Post-Standard. Imagine if Jimmy ever got a computer and checked out the message boards and blogs...my goodness. We'd all be waking up with horse heads in our beds.
The first part of Jim's argument is fair and accurate. It's unwise and silly for anyone to judge an entire season based on a three-week period. Syracuse fans have griped during this free-fall and the media have reported on it, as you would expect, but there's still plenty of season left to be played. Boeheim's weathered many storms before and he knows what he's talking about in that regard.
Emotions are a big part of being a fan of a college basketball program. We get very excited when things are good. We rant, we cheer, we go nuts, we wear copious amounts of Orange. Emotions, in that case, are good. So it should be expected then that when things are bad, emotions go the other way. We gripe, we complain, we wonder aloud what's wrong and how to fix it and we voice our concerns to whoever will listen. It's not right or wrong, it is how it is. Has been for the 30 years Jim's been our coach and was for the 80 or so years they played basketball at Syracuse before him.
The problem I have with James' rant after the West Virginia win are that ultimately it served no good other than to make himself feel better about himself. And like I said, I understand that. But it's really no different than Scoop Jardine going to Twitter to shoot down those rumors or Mookie Jones taking to Facebook to vent his frustrations over playing time. Jim just gets a bigger microphone.
What we should be talking about this morning is a great win over a quality opponent. We should be talking about how the Orange "played with pride in the Dome." We should be talking about how Brandon Triche has taken over as the on-court leader of this team (a truly shocking, and welcome, development).
Instead we're talking about Boeheim's rant. And make no mistake, this was not an attempt to deflect attention from the team's issues. If that were the case, it would have happened last week. Or the week before.
The other issue is the direct attack on Donna Ditota and Mike Waters. Yes, Donna didn't look very good when she didn't know the answer to the Beilen question. Boeheim "put her in her place," as it were. But were Donna and Mike Waters the intended targets? Or just the easiest?
Boeheim's main gripe was that folks are reporting how he doesn't measure up against other quality coaches. And it's understandable that a guy in his position would be offended. But to go all Bill Brasky on us and boast about how many time he's beaten Rick Pitino and John Beilen...I don't know, it's weak sauce. Jim wants to know why the media doesn't talk about the time he beat Pitino six-straight times, but the thing is, they probably did. It's just been over a decade since that was the case, so, it's not relevant anymore.
Ultimately, we can talk a few lessons away from this:
1. Jim Boheim has thin skin. Point blank, period. And I don't totally mean that as a bad thing. I know that's part of what keeps him motivated, the idea that he's always got to prove something. It keeps a fire lit under his ass and I imagine the day it doesn't is the day he stops coaching. But it also means he's going to be hurt anytime he's criticized, fairly or unfairly.
2. Jim Boeheim is reading/listening. The last few weeks Boeheim has made a surprise appearance on Brent Axe's show to defend his team and now taken to the post-game presser to lash out at critiques in the local media. Boeheim's not only calling out media but also fans. He's reading the paper. He's listening to the sports talk radio. Is he reading the blogs? Doubt it, but maybe he's getting the gist of things...
3. Jim Boeheim has not yet begun to fight. Any concerns that Jimmy B is losing focus or interest can be thrown right out the window. Last night was a guy who cares A LOT about this team and his own legacy. He's not about to fade into the sunset. This team will keep fighting and, as Jim put it, this season is not over.
4. If you work for the Post-Standard, you better know everything there is to know about Jim Boeheim at all times. Cause he will spot-check you from time to time. Especially if he feels slighted.
5. Anything written on Syracuse.com will be attributed to Donna & Mike. Cause I'm pretty sure the article that pissed Jim off was written by Brent Axe (and echoed here). That's irrelevant for Boeheim, guilty by association.
6. When it comes to press conference meltdowns and moments...the kid's still got it.