Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Notes On A Half Decade Of Found Objects and Strange Treasure.

I didn't realize it until I got home late last night, but Hardwood Paroxysm turned 5 years old yesterday.  Basketball, and particularly its NBA iteration, produces the highest across-the-board quality writing of any sport (this is technically a subjective opinion but also true), and f I were to list all the excellent basketball blogs available for your perusal on the internet, we'd be here a very, very long time.  That said, if you asked just about any hoops head to make such a list, I'd bet you all the money Antoine Walker no longer has that HP would be among the first sites mentioned.  So why am I about to dedicate a large swath of celebratory text to this anniversary, you ask?  What exactly is Hardwood Paroxysm?

In a literal sense, it's a basketball blog that was created five years and a day ago by Matt Moore and which has been home to a large number of extremely talented writers over that period, but HP's ethos has never been overly concerned with "literal."  Here you find a rare and unique confluence of detailed analysis and abstract thought.  There is wry humor if you want it, and heavy questions about life, and poetry, and nonsensical yet utterly engaging ramblings.  Here, statistics can have a quiet drink with alchemy, and the conversation will inevitably find its way to reasons why Kyle Lowry is criminally underrated.  Constructs are erected and torn down.  These people are not afraid of oblique angles.  They embrace them, in fact. 

Basketball, of course, is the nominal reason HP exists, but that seems reductive.  In the artisan hands of the writers, this game that we love so dearly becomes a prism, a means of refracting and reflecting our world and ourselves in new and interesting ways.  When I click on my bookmark to get here, I get excited in a way that I really don't about any other space on the internet.  OK, whaddaya have for me today?  I might learn about which Grizzlies lineups grab the most and least defensive rebounds, or how an undrafted backup point guard had a killer game at Summer League.  I might read about how watching a team got someone through a tough breakup.  I might stumble onto a rumination on Jarrett Jack's Twitter attacks of Ray Allen and Dwight Howard and how they remind someone of Andy Warhol's early work.  (This post hasn't actually been written, but it probably could be, and that's the beauty of the whole thing.) 

HP works in part because the people involved are scientists in that they want to figure out how and why things in basketball and life function the way they do; there is a true spirit of inquiry.  But far more importantly, it works because they aren't just colleagues, they're friends, with each other and with us, after a fashion.  They teach us, everyday, more about hoops, but in intensely personal ways.  We trade quips and observations with them on Daily Dime Live.  We come to know them through their work because it's never just about the game.  It's about us, and them, and shared adventures.  It's about joy and love and how we communicate those things to each other. 

HP has been a perpetual source of wonder and happiness for me since its inception.  It has been a sanctuary and a beacon, and just downright ineffably special.  And so I want to thank Matt Moore for this creation he birthed and the inspiration and beauty it's given us.  I want to thank everyone who has written on the site for their wit, opinions, and heart.  And I want to wish Jared and Amin the best of luck in continuing the work.  (Spoiler alert: they're going to do a phenomenal job.) 

Happy 5th birthday, Hardwood Paroxysm.   Many happy returns. 

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