Sandy has stopped the sports world at least in sections of the East Coast. The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks NBA games have diminished into irrelevance. With subways filled with water and houses burning and yachts floating out to sea, it'shard to care about the first game of an 82 game NBA season odyssey that will go on until next summer.
Next summer: That seems like decades away. Getting power back up in houses and businesses seems like a month away in my home state of New Jersey. Returning to normalcy seems like a far-off fantasy. My Sandy experience was like so many others: Sitting in darkness with my family, we played Go Fish more than we ever would normally.
We have a half dozen 200 foot trees in our backyard. As Sandy drew close, we had nightmarish visions of all six of them falling on our roof while asleep. So we headed for the hills and went to a nearby hotel where there were no big trees to fall on us. It got dark early Monday afternoon and the power went out there. We laid on the hotel beds and stared at the ceilings, wide awake, in the darkness.
Boredom Central State University.
When the storm hit its peak, a hotel window popped. The wind's force broke it. I could go on and on and about all the other dreadful things we saw the next day in our neighborhood when we returned to inspect the damage. Power generators and wires littered the streets. Fallen, snapped trees blocked roads. A colossal mess from one side of town to the other. But there is hope, and that is this: That within two days the greatest sports show on Earth hits the turf once again: the Oregon Ducks football team.
If you haven't seen them play, you must. They run more offensive plays in a shorter span of time than any team in the history of football, it seems to me. Once a play ends, they rush to the line of scrimmage like their pants are on fire and run another play. The defense tries to keep up but can't They're befuddled, beleaguered, and beaten. The past few weeks Oregon has exploded for over 50 points against each of its opponents. Most of this scoring happens in the first half. Never seen anything like it. They execute so many plays so swiftly it???s tough to figure out their scheme. Before you can decipher anything, they're already scored another touchdown.
The next time they get the ball, it's the same frenzied football pace all over gain. Oregon ball, run a few plays, touchdown. They're spellbinding to watch but they score so fast youy; left longing for more. Their offensive possessions end before you can take a second bite into your ham sandwich. What is going on with this team and this offense? I have never seen anything like it. The only thing comparable was the 1980s Loyola Marymount men's college basketball team that used to routinely score over 100 points with frantic offensive play. But they often lost. Oregon almost always wins.
Former Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry revolutionized professional football with his various innovative schemes. The Oregon football coach has created something with this Oregon offense that is just as remarkable. The coolest concept is that the offensive virtually eliminates defensive planning. With so little time between plays, defenses have almost no time to make adjustments, to bring in different players. All they can do is react. They are in chase mode rather than defend mode. They can'tcounter-act. They can only hope to have enough energy to stop the next play. It's like playing a game of chess without the Queen while the other guy has his. Defenses are rendered helpless.
With all the helplessness being felt in New Jersey and New York these days, it is great to have the Oregon Ducks football game on the near-term horizon. They will move so fast, remind us of the swift world we live in that energizes us. Their offense this weekend will take our minds off the slow recovery from Hurricane Sandy.