I Feel Sorry for Eloy Vargas

Evan Hilbertover 10 years

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Aritcle written by:Evan HilbertEvan Hilbert
eloy-vargas-alabama Whenever I watch basketball games with my wife or mom they always make it a point to say how bad they feel for guys that miss crucial free throws at the end of games. (Aside: Watching basketball with these ladies is no picnic. My wife asks hundreds and hundreds of questions that don't really make sense, and my mom turns into a raving lunatic when UK plays. Seriously. She gets so nervous during games that she paces, and sometimes she wanders the neighborhood like a marauder in the night, looking in strangers' windows to see which crowd is cheering, blue or otherwise.) Anyway, whenever they get all huffy about some chump clanging a couple of foul shots I remind these weak souls that these guys have the opportunity to do something that no one else gets to do and everyone else wants to do. That being said, I wanted to cry when John Calipari benched Eloy Vargas Tuesday night. I understand these guys are hyper-competitive and thrive off this sort of public banishment, but Vargas' body language as he slunk to the bench made me feel like a bad person for being glad that he was coming out of the game. And then I got to thinking about how my mom -- between nonsensical rants of "why can't we guard him?" or "why didn't we pick that off?" or "couldn't he have gone outside?" -- always used to say that that guy has a mother somewhere. And then I felt even worse. Then Alabama made a hundred threes. And then I felt even worse. But he needed to come out, and far be it from me to censure Calipari's coaching methods and tendencies. I won't -- he did nothing wrong. It's tough to watch Vargas play -- truly -- and I think it's partly because I want so badly for him to do well. He struggles a lot on the floor, but he seems to be a good teammate that really, really, really wants to please his coach. He just doesn't have it. That isn't to say that he will never have it; just that he doesn't have it now. Hell, look at Festus Ezeli. But for now, he's the guy on our team that's having a hard time doing what he needs to do. And I hope this isn't construed as some rallying cry to change the rhetoric in cheering or coaching or whatever, because god knows I'm no beacon of positivity (or tact, for that matter). Don't let yourself believe for a second that I am trying to occupy some moral high ground because I felt sad and you were pissed. Trust me, I'm not that self-aware. I don't mean for this, either, to have some sort of "he's just a kid!" tone. Hey, criticism comes with the territory, pal! I guess my conclusion is this: Even when these guys get cut, they bleed. And maybe we all -- and I think I'm writing this more for myself than anyone else -- need to remember that basketball probably isn't always at the fore of Eloy Vargas' mind.

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2021-09-23