The Hyball: Death & Basketball

By Bobby Loesch on April 7, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Blonde Basher
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The Hyball is a weekly basketball column.

Been thinking a lot about Taylor Hawkins.

I was 11-years-old when my grandfather passed away. Had never really experienced a death before, and the first thing I did after my mom told me was shoot hoops. Not sure I knew how to vocalize terms like cathartic or therapeutic, but I was living the definitions.

When someone close to me dies, I'm not always able to run out and do that like I did then, but my thoughts still immediately drift to the game and when I'll be able to play it next. I need it to center, because out there, it's different. Different better. Reminds me of a circular André 3000 quote:

When you think too much, you're removing what's moving.

Basketball is always moving. Running, jumping, cutting, shooting, rebounding (if you're anyone but me). Fuck thinking, go play. Miss a shot. Hell, airball one. Yell at a teammate. Apologize for a cheap foul. Usually, a bad day of basketball still beats a good day of nearly anything else.

Assuming there are less drummers than hoopers who read this, but drums have always been that way for me, too. I breathe basketball, but I am not, well, skilled. Drums are the pattern of my soul.


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Coordinated -- and, sometimes, uncoordinated -- movement. Too many parts of your brain are firing at once to dwell on anything bad. When you finish, the bad thing you were running away from is still there, but it feels somehow diminished, ever so slightly.

I hope everyone here has something like that. I bet some of you do cool outside stuff. I would love to know what those things are. Mowing the lawn? Working on a car? Playing with your kids? The perfect walk? Some farm-y thing?

Talked about the joy of watching the Sweet 16 in person last week, but what I didn't mention was Hawkins. It was the perfect day until then. Family, new friends, breweries, corner bars, Philly, random meet ups, cool ass basketball... but when we spilled out into the parking lot as we waited for my cousin to pick us up that night, the news came in.

Friends, I sobbed. Sure, eight hours of drinking played a factor, but it was a blindside.

I loved the Foo in middle school and high school. Kinda drifted a little in high school but the respect was always there. Saw them late college in Council Bluffs; they were pro's pros. "Everlong" is still my favorite all-time music video.

One of my goals is to learn at least some of those drums and post a proper tribute to Taylor soon. He deserves it.

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You don't choose your connections; not usually. How could you? I came into this season hoping for a cool Keegan Murray play or two, and I ended up falling hard for the men's team and being significantly more devastated when they lost in the first round than I ever expected initially. I came into this season hoping to maybe see Caitlin Clark in person once. Cue four games in three different cities and a spotless undefeated record/Big Ten tournament championship. And oops, her teammates had games of their own. Now, I wish I could quit my day job and follow them around like Bill Walton with the Grateful Dead. No lies.

It can transform just like that. Take our national runners-up. Many UNC fans were allllll the way out on this team before a Duke slaying at Cameron turned them into monsters. A 1-seed disguised as an 8-seed. And if one floorboard is placed differently, maybe they're holding the title belt right now.


But as their own Dean Smith once said:

If you make every game a life and death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot.

So it's Kansas that gets to stand one half step higher than the Heels. And that is absolutely OK. It doesn't mean everything else didn't happen. Their starting five are now forever players; inspiring greatness and resilience, even if they didn't win the last game, they made it there and had their chance.

That's the beauty of the game; why I'll always return to it. All it takes is one make. And for a slasher with an iffy jump shot, that still provides beautiful solace.


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The Hyball

"So when you're ground-down and grey in those gradient weekdays, just remember the gift is that you get to keep doing it."

Last Week

/shakes head no

This Week

"What's the first thing you're gonna do once you get mega rich?"
"Breathe air."

Caitlin Corner

Catch me at the Chicago Sky ring ceremony May 24.

Brad Davison Is Definitively A Senior.


This section is now officially gone. Less negativity in my life.

Obligatory Michigan Section

Happy trails, BJJ. We talked two weeks ago about getting to see players through their full journey, and this one feels like the opposite. After a tentative-and-tantalizing start to his career, he blossomed last season in the absence of Isaiah Livers. But this year? Right back to square one. It was as if the in between never happened.

Hope he tears it up at a mid-major near you very soon.

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Imagine being this dope.

The Mini-Hybrid

OK, I'll bite.


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Go Blue

Bill Walton's Western Civilization 
No Context College Basketball
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Heck yeah -- congrats, Jack.

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Wrapping It Up...

Nurture what's next.

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And that's a wrap, y'all. Thank you for having me weekly in this space for the last seven months. In that time, I changed jobs, got COVID, recovered from COVID, lost two family members, saw both coasts, visited Iowa City, and went to a Brazilian steakhouse for the salad bar only.

Every year, I say I probably won't write football again, and I always, begrudgingly come back. I am here now, definitively, to say that is over. Plan is to Hyball next year for sure for sure though (word to Caitlin Clark and Kris Murray). I'll tuck some late season football takes into the mini-Hybrid section, and that will be that.

We may not always agree on everything. Like making the CFP being better than the Rose Bowl. Or, you know, wrestling. But whether it's the breeze off the Iowa River on a sunny day or a perfectly wrapped Pancheros burrito or a Carver cone, hope you know I really do bleed (some) black and gold.

Let's turn the lights off with the icon herself -- because hoops over words always.

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at]

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