vs. Michigan State
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f r u s t r a t i o n

If life's frustrations are what instills character in us, I've got enough for the entire state of Illinois, and I'm working on covering the entire continental United States.

Beavis takes a dump...

On Tuesday, my beloved computer, 'beavis', decided that it'd had enough with me. If you've ever heard of someone calling his Macintosh a "Macin-crash" it was probably me. Out of the blue, beavis decided he would go catatonic on me every time I tried to start it up. I tried every trick I know: re-installing the system software didn't help, rebuilding the desktop folder didn't help and even the magical cure-all Conflict Catcher didn't work as it should have--which is where the REAL frustration started.

Using Conflict Catcher is like sitting in the proctologist's office waiting for Dr. Jelly-Finger to have his way with you. You wait and wait and wait and wait, restarting your machine over and over again as the program follows a methodical process-of-elimination approach until it says "hey, here they are: Apple Menu Items and MacTCP are the problem." Thinking that my problems were solved, I temporarily removed the indicated extensions and restarted the machine only to have it crash on the subsequent re-boot. I went through this routine for four straight days...and every time I ran Conflict Catcher the dumb thing told me that a totally different set of extensions were causing the problem. It was the program's way of saying "Heck if I know what's wrong with your machine--you figure it out!". I worked on the problem right up until the minute I had to leave for our day-before-the-game practice at Welsh-Ryan arena. Needless to say I was not a happy computer nerd.

I went to practice mad at the world and ready to throw-down at the drop of a hat. For me, the only thing worse than having my connection to the outside world cut off is a problem that leaves me beating my head up against the wall. There have been many a night doing homework that I would spend upwards of 3 hours working on one problem then to only partially figure it out. Yep, I was pretty mad and I made sure my teammates knew it. They expressed concern (likely out of fear that I would lose all sanity and start throwing our guards around like sacks of potatoes) but nothing I said could make them understand the gravity of the situation. They just can't relate to me, but then again very few can.

Lost : One plane

I practiced, ate and then hopped on the bus, all the while carrying around the feeling that I should be back in my room trouble-shooting until the wee hours of the night. Still in a state of depression, I slipped Pink Floyd's Division Bell into my Discman and let the music carry me away for the one-hour ride to Midway airport. At Midway, it was pretty obvious that our charter plane was nowhere to be found so I replaced Division Bell with Roger Water's Amused to Death, sat back and just mellowed out. Seconds turned to minutes and the minutes turned to hours and still no plane, and nobody inside could tell us where it was! "Uh, they just dropped off Ohio State at Illinois and they're in the air right now headed this way....we think" was the word we got from those who were supposedly "in the know."

There we sat on the tarmac, waiting and watching for our prodigal plane to come and take us away. Nobody was really surprised however--we haven't had a delay-free road game since before we went to Seton Hall. The coaches went inside the mini-terminal to wait it out while Evan, Craig Duerkson, Keith Peshke, Brian Chamberlain and I sat in the back of the bus exchanging stories and watching with great amusement as Jevon Johnson sang along with every single "booty call" song that came on the radio. "Sing it Luther!" I said in mock support of his bellowing. This was going to be another one of "those" trips again...I could feel it. Two and one-half hours late, our plane finally landed. It was a good thing too--I don't think I could have taken one more R&B sing-along with Jevon on the mic.

The Game: Frustration continues

By the time morning came I was quite over the problems I was having with beavis. There was nothing I could do in East Lansing, Michigan that would cure my problems back in Evanston, so I just did't think of it; that is until Evan chided "Beavis is dying, Dan...think of the pain he's in!" Jerk.

During pre-game warmups I felt exceptionally refreshed. My legs felt springy, my mind was sharp and focused and I was ready to play. I was looking forward to matching up against Jamie Feick "arguably the strongest and most skilled post man in the Big Ten" as their media guide boasted. I knew that I'm every bit as strong as he is if not stronger (at least in the legs where it really counts for post men); it was just a matter of me playing a little smarter and harder than I would have to against an opponent of lesser stature. When the time came for me to give Evan a breather, I stepped out onto the court but Jamie was on the bench. Disappointed, I defended ol' what's-his-name and racked up two quick fouls. One foul was a totally abysmal call against me for holding while I was posting up ol' boy--I love it when I get called for holding while my defender is hanging on my arm. Stupid ref. The second call I don't recall exactly but I do recall thinking that this particular ref had been partaking of some exotic Jamaican herbs immediately prior to tip-off. I sat out for the rest of the half. Frustration began to build up again.

Early into the second half, I was set loose on the floor again. This time Jamie was out there, waiting. "Hey Jamie, how ya doin'?" I greeted him.

"Hey Big Kreft."

Contrary to what some may think, when two players exchange words on the court, it isn't always to harass the other or to "get in his head." I've always liked battling against players I've met outside of the arena (Jamie ran into me last spring at Johnny Rockets in Chicago) and this was no exception. I had a similar relationship with Penn State's John Amaechi (he and I corresponded via e-mail on several occasions) and we always greeted each other before John beat me like a red-headed stepchild. It just seems more fun for some reason; I don't know why but it just does. The only thing I was not looking forward to was guarding Jamie out on the 3 point line. I hate defending 3-point shooters period, and from our scouting reports it was all too clear that Jamie had pretty much given up the post for higher grounds.

All in all I didn't fare too poorly (IMHO) against him on defense--I was pushing him around pretty good--which is how I earned my 3rd foul. Back to my reserved courtside seat right next to Coach Swanson. *Sigh*. The last time I was in the game was to play against Steve Polonowski--definitely not as much fun since he wasn't nearly as strong. The frustration of racking up three quick fouls (at game's end I had 3 fouls in only 9 minutes) showed as I went for every single ball fake thrown at me. I soared here, I soared there...if I thought I had a chance at sending someone's shot into the mezzanine I would throw myself at him....but each time the result was the same--he would retract the shot and drive to the hoop. Needless to say, we lost.

Post Game Frustration

The frustration didn't stop after the game. Thursday evening I sat down to do my homework due the next day for my filter design class and another assignment for my feedback and control systems class. Ever sit down, look a problem and think to yourself "What language is this written in?" That's what every night is like for me and it doesn't help when I have to miss almost every single Wednesday class due to road trips--that's 1/3 of all my classes this quarter (my classes only meet on MWF!). I wonder who makes our schedule? Obviously someone who has no stinking idea what kind of torment I have to endure just to keep my head above the water--the previous two seasons were much more commensurate with regular attendance in class. This doesn't get any easier, and with each passing day I grow more and more anxious for graduation day to come so I can return to my job in south Florida and get my life back to normal once again.

Living the life as an electrical engineering student playing basketball in one of the toughest conferences in the United States is a tough job, but I guess someone has to do it.

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