Friday, January 07, 2005

It's Good to be King

The Factor can't believe his good fortune --

Right now I'm on top of the world. King of the mountain. Ruler of the kingdom. Mountain of the rule, er, or something. Number one in all the land. The best in the country. It's like being Teen Wolf -- in the original, not the crappy sequel (seriously why would you EVER agree to box a werewolf?).

I am The Factor's tremendous elation.

Okay, so maybe I'M personally not number one. Well, except in obscure cartoon references and desire for another Terminator sequel. But my mostly alma mater the University of Illinois is number one for the fifth straight week, and I get to be part of that. The Factor is fired up and bleeding orange!

It is a glorious thing, life at the top. I can gaze mercifully on all those below me, knowing that they'd sell assorted body parts (is the soul considered a body part?) and various family treasures to be where I am. It makes me giddier than fried chicken. And I love me some fried chicken. I'm the king and to me go the spoils. I am exalted warrior, fine meats and cheeses for all in my court. I'm the envy of everyone! This must be how it feels to be Kevin Federline or the Olsen sister that didn't get shipped off to skinny camp. Covet all you want folks, it's all mine!

For the first time in my life, I have a team of my very own that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. A team that has won only one game by less than double digits. A team that knocked off the former number one by 18 points in a game where they led by 32 late in the second half. A team that's downed three top 25 teams one their way to an undefeated non-conference schedule. A team that has a really tall goofy white guy. A team that plays in a conference that's playing some of their worst basketball as long as I can remember. A team that has four guys, count 'em FOUR, that could go off for 25 points in any given game. And when one of those guys doesn't, James Augustine drops 21 on Ohio State. It's a team that inspires dreams of - dare I say it - an undefeated season. A team that flat out dominates its opponents. And all of this on the centennial of Illini basketball.

This, of course, leads to stark fear as well. Am I being a good enough fan? If I'm not, what will happen to the team? Could I live with myself if I were to be responsible for the demise of the perfect season? How can I make sure that Dee "Don't call me, uh, that other Dee Brown" Brown stays healthy? If I forget to wear orange on game day, will the top ranking meet it's bitter end? That last one usually leads to me watching games at home in an Illinois t-shirt, orange socks and no pants. The pantlessness is less of a superstitious thing and more of a protest. It's important to make your voice heard. Regardless, all of these are reasonable concerns to me. And not a one of you can prove them to be unjustified. Wait, could I be jinxing it right now?!

Listen, I know it's a little premature. It's only January after all, and the games that count happen in March. I know that it's more than likely that Illinois will lose 3 or 4 as the season wears on. I know that thus far they've played mostly home and neutral site games. But none of that matters right now. Illinois is 15-0 (after punking Ohio State this week). Zero losses. None. Nada. Zip. And all the other ways to say zero. Right now, Illinois is number one and that means so am I. Everytime I think about it, I do a little happy dance that involves a lot of shoulder shaking and wobbling from side to side. It looks a lot like the Humpty Dance (step off I'm doin' the Hump!).

Please basketball Gods, just let me have this one. Just this one. I'll never ask for anything again.

Um, yeah, and I'd appreciate it if you could get your fellow sporting Gods of football to throw in Colts Superbowl win. Give me that and I'll never stalk another teenage celebrity. I sware.

(Note: A special thanks to Max Power and Haberman for inviting me to join their distinguished blog. It was likely a temporary lapse in sanity on their part, so I'm slipping this in before they wise up.)


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