A few weeks ago, I asked what I thought was the key question holding back our team: "Who is the FIST of the Bruins?"
Under CBH, our Bruin Team, like any prizefighter, has always had two FISTS to fight with, never going into any contest with a hand tied behind our back. One on offense (e.g. Love, Afflalo, Farmar), one on defense (e.g. Afflalo, Bozeman, Westbrook, Mbah A Moute). That’s just one benefit of having a GREAT coach.
But today, this week actually, I am also reminded that the FISTs are NEVER, have NEVER been, and will NEVER be enough to win any prolonged fight.
No boxer, no MMA fighter, no nightclub bouncer in this world ever won a confrontation or competition with just their FISTS.
They win with the CORE muscles providing the balance and strength.
The CORE supplies you with POWER. It serves as the ARMOR against punishment. It protects your WILL.
It allows you to ENDURE.
If this Bruin Team is to act as a single body in the peak of its condition and its abilities, it needs a fit and healthy CORE. And what is our CORE?
Strength. Toughness. Physical stamina. Mental endurance. Intelligent decisions honed into automatic reflexes.
You can’t take a perfect shot every time. Even if you do, you can miss with perfect form.
However, you can make an opponent shoot from 1-2 feet further out, slow him down on his way to he boards by 1-2 steps, get a hand in his face and alter his shot by 5-10 degrees on the upward arc.
That’s what DEFENSE is.
Having a great offense means little when the other side has the ball and you’re down by 2.
Having a great offense means nothing when the other side has the ball and you’re down by TWENTY-FIVE, and you can’t stop the other team from scoring any more than they can stop you.
Having a great defense means EVERYTHING when you need momentum back — in a possession, in half, in a game, in a SEASON.
DEFENSE IS OUR CORE. THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. And we got punched in the core, our gut, two games in a row… and we felt it because our core got just a little bit softer. No blame, no fault – just fact.
Any man or woman on this planet can have great looking arms. Curling a $10 set of dumbbells (or even a couple of gallon jugs of water), combined with a mirror and a modicum of ego, can make any person have great looking biceps.
Offense is like arm strength – important, but also easy to look pretty while developing it. You know who the REAL fit people are. You check their CORE. They’re the ones who do the crunches by the hundreds. The trunk-twisting exercises that’ll double you over in pain within a couple of hours. The monotonous, exhausting reps of leg lifts… or Superman-in-flight-for-60-to-120 seconds that make you wonder what can possibly be gained from this torture…
Until you realize you can lift more than the other guy… throw farther than the other guy… run longer than the other guy… reach higher than the other guy... outlast the other guy… Until you realize that you can STAND TALLER.
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I’ll keep saying it as long as I post in this Nation.
I BELIEVE IN THIS TEAM.
I believe in Coach Ben Howland.
I believe in DEFENSE.
And, to be more specific, well, I believe in weight training, cleaning the glass, the box-out, the big-man hedge on a ball-screen, the low-post double-team, high-post screens, second shots, that the rantings of Dick Vitale are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Digger Phelps should just stay "home." I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing the zone defense and the possession arrow. I believe in the time-out for defense, hitting the floor for a charge, watching for power rankings on St. Patrick’s Day rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, hard, grinding games that piss off an opponent for three hundred sixty-five days.
I BELIEVE IN THE BRUINS.
Offense is our arms, and we certainly need them in a fight. No question.
But when our Bruins re-strengthen their CORE, we will all STAND TALLER.