The editors want massive rewrites, to the point where the entire focus of the book is shifted. I created this monster by adding some new elements they fell in love with and now want to be front and center to the story.
My initial reaction was….let’s just use the word frustrated and leave it at that.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I could see they were right. At least, the spirit behind their ideas was correct. The reason they like these new elements is because they’re solely devoted to character development and make readers care about what’s happening in the other side of the story. I get that. However, their idea for how to rewrite it falls flat to me, and doesn’t make much sense.
So, essentially, I thought I had two options. Submit what I have to others or try another rewrite.
Or….and this came to me at 3 in the morning Saturday, I could rewrite it my own way to give the editors what they want while still keeping what I want. I’m going to talk this over with an editor, but even if they don’t go for it, I’m still going to do it.
I’m reluctant to spend quality time focusing on unbridled hatred. It’s generally a waste of time and rarely makes me feel better. That’s usually because hatred is venomous and while it feels good on the way out, venom comes from venom sacs and just refills once its gone.
There are a few teams I dislike and subconsciously play Emperor Palpatine music in my head whenever I watch them, but Duke is on a whole different level. I don’t like the Highlands Blue Birds. I’m annoyed by the New York Yankees and baseball in general. The color black and their generally dirty play does the San Antonio Spurs no favors in my book.
But I HATE Duke. HATE, HATE, HATe them. My hatred for Duke is venomous. I mean, black mamba venomous. If, heaven forbid, you were forced to print out these words and eat them, you’d go comatose and then die in less then five seconds. Organ failure would be the cause. If, somehow, you were stranded in the arctic and needed to start a fire from my collection of blog print-outs, this particular entry would set off a nuclear explosion visible from Ecuador. If Lord Voldemort were somehow still alive, this blog entry would make a perfect horcrux. I hate Duke.
And while normally, I wouldn’t write about hate because it serves no purpose, this occasion is different. That’s because Duke just won the National Championship two days ago. This no longer venomous hatred. Now, it’s bile. And it needs to get out.
There are probably a million different reasons to hate Duke. Picking one is like picking your favorite gold bar in Fort Knox and heisting it. That doesn’t make sense? Of course it doesn’t make sense. Why take one when you can take them all?
There are a variety of entries in the Duke Hateopedia. Sustained success is easy to hate. Every team from the Yankees to the Lakers deals with it. Douchebag behavior on the court is also easy to hate. From floor slaps to the infamous Laettner stomp to JJ Redick being JJ Redick, Duke has that market cornered. Elitish snobbery? Check. Obnoxious fans who somehow think they’re “crazier” than other fans because they wear face paint and yell in a high school gym? Okay. Media homerism that consistently puts them on a pedestal when they don’t really deserve it? Got it.
Then there’s the regional hatred. Obviously, no one else in North Carolina likes Duke. Most people in Kentucky hate Duke as well. Laettner’s shot in 1992 still breaks my heart every time they show it on the CBS pregame introduction, and this year was even worse because Butler came THIS CLOSE on that desperation halfcourt heave to erasing that ’92 shot from the collective memory banks of college basketball fans everywhere.
Of all the reasons, most don’t fit for me. Sustained success isn’t something that makes me cringe, mostly because my team has more sustained success than Duke. Besides, that’s not really hatred if you hate a team because they’re good. That’s jealousy.
The players themselves don’t really bother me, either. Yes, sometimes they make dirty plays and act like pampered jerks, but so do a lot of other players on other teams. Besides, most of their players seem to be well-spoken, hard-working, smart and like to act vaguely homosexual around their friends. In short, they are just like I was in college.
To further that, Coach K is a damn good coach and you’d better believe I was rooting him on when he was the coach of Team USA in Beijing.
And while their fans are obnoxious, I’ve had personal encounters with Duke fans at Duke-UK games and you know what? They’re cool people and bought me a beer.
So, really, the reason I hate Duke is not because of Duke itself. It’s because the media, particularly ESPN, constantly tells me I should like them. I can’t stand this.
What makes it even more maddening is how the media has recently started to paint my team, Kentucky, as the “villain” in opposition to teams like Duke. The reason for this is obvious. Calipari is a lightning rod for controversy and openly courts players who treat college basketball as a stepping-stone to the NBA. The end result is that Kentucky is painted as dirty whereas schools like Duke do things “the right way.”
Duke depends on experienced upperclassmen instead of inexperienced one and doners like John Wall. Sure, that’s true, but only because Wall spurned Duke in favor of Kentucky. Coach K recruited him HARD and didn’t get him. Now, you think for a second that his status as a one and done would be vilified at all if he was at Duke instead of at Kentucky with that scumbag Calipari? Nope, me neither.
The whole notion that certain college programs are considered “clean” whereas others are “dirty” is a farce in its own right. People like to point at Calipari and say he’s dirty based on the incidents with Camby and Rose. In the case of Camby, rules were broken and UMass paid for it by vacating wins. You know what? The same situation happened with Corey Maggette and Duke. He even admitted to taking money from an agent. Just like UMass, their wins from that season should be vacated because technically, Maggette was no longer an amateur. Guess what, though? Duke was cleared and no wins were vacated. Hmmm…..
My point here is that anyone who thinks that any big time college basketball program is run squeaky clean is misguided. Grey is part of the game. Yet certain programs are put on this pedestal of pristine whiteness, and in the case of Duke, I’m not just talking about the color of their player’s skin. Until perception comes closer to reality and Duke is given the same media treatment as everyone else, I will continue to hate them because my hatred for unfairness needs to have a focal point.
Also, I will continue to laugh at Jon Scheyer’s game face.
As a general rule in sports fandom, you can really have one team. Sure, you may really like some teams and enjoy watching them play. You may root for some teams over other teams, but there’s usually something missing.
For instance, I enjoy watching the Lakers play. They’re a good team. Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players on planet Earth, Ron Artest is fantastic during press interviews, and when Sasha Vujacic plays well, videos like this get made. I enjoy watching them play, but again, they’re not my team. When they win, I feel some small measure of pride in their accomplishments, but when they lose, I don’t feel anything. That’s because they’re not my team.
The Kentucky Wildcats are MY team.
I don’t just enjoy watching them play. I cheer with every dunk and jumper. I yell at the tv when they play dumb. My stomach gathers into knots when they start to lose. When they win, I feel happy.When they lose, I feel bad. And when they lose badly, I crawl into a hole and numb my sadness with cheese crackers and Disney movies.
Saturday sucked. I hate seeing my team lose, but the cold, hard truth of the NCAA tournament makes it much worse. With pro teams, there’s always the prospect of next year. Not just next year, but next year with the same players. When a college team loses in the tournament, though, that just isn’t the case. John Wall isn’t coming back. Demarcus Cousins isn’t coming back. Patrick Patterson isn’t coming back. More might not be coming back. Just like that, it’s over.
If I could, I would adopt a pro team as MY team. It just seems easier. When your team is good, there’s very little chance they’ll lose to a lesser team. Playoffs negate that possibility because they allow talent and skill, rather than game plans and sometimes, gimmicks, to shine.
Not that West Virginia was a bad team. It’s just that the first half was one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen. The Mountaineers didn’t make anything other than three pointers and a few free throws the first half, and were it not for that statistical anomaly, Kentucky would have been up big. Of course, the Wildcats poor play was not expected, either, and much of the credit for that is due to West Virginia’s defense. The bottom line is that for one game, West Virginia outplayed Kentucky. That can’t be denied, but if the tournament wasn’t the tournament, and they were playoffs instead, Kentucky would win in five, maybe six, games.
But is the tournament, and it is March Madness, and my team lost their mind for one game and now a bunch of one and dones are three and out. It makes me genuinely sad that the only way I’ll get to this see this team play again is on ESPN Classic, but what I can do?
Nothing much, except resign myself to becoming a Nets fan or whatever team has first pick in this year’s draft.