Every sport has its unique beauty. For me, one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy basketball, both when I used to play and now as a fan, is because it’s the one sport where the old mantra of “just play hard and it’ll pay off” can actually be true. In basketball, all it can take to contribute is to aggressively jump for basketballs and have enough endurance to cause havoc on the man you’re guarding. That’s it. This can lead to rebounds, steals, and a tough shot selection for the opponent. Its as simple as you can get when using your athletic ability.
In contrast, it’s very easy to mess up even while playing aggressively in football. You have to worry about scheme and play calls. What’s the purpose of running as fast as you can to tackle someone if you’re supposed to be in pass coverage? And unlike a basketball court, a football field is so big that it’s hard to recover when you make a mistake on a play. Or consider baseball; try to get over a hitless streak by just swinging harder. Baseball is about repetition and adjustments, rather than brute determination and aggression.
Fortunately for this Baylor team, ‘just playing hard’ was enough on Saturday night. The Bears were abysmal from the free-throw line and from 3-point range most of the night, but were still able to pick up a solid road win. Both King McClure and Mark Vital encapsulated this determination attitude against Arizona. King went scoreless in the game; however, he was able to stay engaged on the defensive end all night which resulted in causing numerous turnovers. And by nothing more than sheer effort and grittiness on the glass, Mark Vital was able to contribute significantly even with his poor free-throw shooting.
Solid rebounding and defense can go a long way. And if fans weren’t convinced after the near come back against Wichita State, then hopefully the Arizona game proved once more that Coach Drew’s Baylor team is here compete. This Baylor team may not have the most polished talent, but they have proved that they will play with hard work and effort. Thankfully, in basketball that alone can translate to some victories.