I make no bones about it. This blog is about sports from the perspective of a fan. No doubt I have a journalistic background, and no doubt some of the things I've done as a journalist have contributed to what I write here today. But still this blog is about my feelings as a fan.
I truly don't think I've ever rooted for a team longer or harder than I have for the Mount. And I know that despite all the sad and troubling things going on at my own alma mater right now, there is nothing in the sports world that pulls at my heartstrings like the Mount.
That's why last night, and for that matter the last few weeks and maybe even the end of last season have been so upsetting to me. The bottom line is this is not a very good basketball team right now. There isn't a ton of talent. Still they wear the blue and white and I like the guys a whole lot. They play hard and they give the effort that you want to see. Basketballstate.com describes the Mount in its team profile as has difficulty scoring baskets and defensively challenged. That's not a good combination.
It's tough right now and it's certainly easy to point figures when things are going well. There are a slew of reasons. Reasons or excuses, I guess.
When things like this go wrong as fans we tend to blame the coach. And no doubt Robert Burke has to be accountable for his actions and the play of his team. But we also need to give him time to craft to his program. As far as I'm concerned this freshman class is his real first recruiting effort - and the abilities of Kelvin Parker, Xavier Owens, Chad Holley and Taylor Danaher will fully be measured in the years to come. It's tough to win at this level with freshman.
Josh Castellanos and Julian Norfleet were both pleasant surprises in their first year last season. But both have had slow starts compared to our expectations this season.
Burke came into a tough situation - just about all the weapons were departing and the cupboards were starting to look a little bare. Graduation took a few more after last season and injuries and defections have made it even more difficult at the start of this year.
I've heard the Burke complaints. I can't argue with some of them. He obviously has a short hook - and I'm concerned about how that plays with some of the players who lack confidence right now. There also are a lot more combinations being floated around then I normally like to see. In addition, the decision to play Julian Norfleet as the lead guard last night seemed a bit odd to me. Norfleet filled in adequately at Navy and might have reduced the turnovers from that slot. But on a team that struggles so much offensively, it seemed like an odd choice to take away your best offensive option.
Still its our jobs as fans to stay the course and root for the team and the coaches that are out there. And I'm hopeful that the right things were said in the 40-minute post game chat session last night to solve some of the issues.
The defending league champ is coming to Mount St. Mary's on Saturday night. Truely it has the makings of something that could be ugly.
But I'm hoping you'll be there with me to cheer on our team. Because it's at times like these when things get tough that we as fans are needed the most. Let's keep this positive and get things going forward again.
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