Op-eds

A Basketball Guide to Middle East News: Op-ed by Professor Prodromou

The World Post

Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, associate professor of conflict resolution at the Fletcher School

I'm a lifelong lover of basketball and a diehard fan of the Boston Celtics, so it's always a bittersweet moment when the magical Celts are eliminated from NBA playoff competition and I'm forced to choose another team to support in the run to the championship. Full disclosure: I was thrilled to watch the San Antonio Spurs, dedicated to hoop fundamentals and committed to team ball, administer a 4-1 drubbing to the celebritized Miami Heat, en route to the Spurs' fifth championship banner a few nights ago.

Tertullian might ask bitingly of the previous paragraph, "What do the couple of weeks of NBA championship basketball have to do with the past two weeks of horrifying violence that is breaking states, erasing borders, and quite possibly, foreshadowing to the final eradication of Christians in the Levant? My answer would be, "A lot -- if you remember the legendary phrase of the late radio announcer and voice of the Celtics, Johnny Most."

One of Most's patented expressions was "fiddling and diddling, daddling and doodling," which he coined to describe the repetitive dribbling by NBA point guards who slowed the game down, waited for the team to set up its half-court offense, and in the process, oftentimes perplexed fans and coaches expecting a rush to the basket. But serious hoopsters and, especially, listeners fluent in Most's phraseology, came to realize that there was an essential difference between ball-hogging daddlers-and-doodlers versus savant fidders-and-diddlers. The latter group were, in fact, master tacticians, unrivaled strategists, floor generals, who were reading the defense, patiently waiting for the right moment of opportunity to direct a play that would decimate the opponent and bring victory to the team whose guards never lost sight of the final objective.

Here's where basketball brings chilling clarity to the linkages and connections between seemingly disconnected events that have been playing in the countries of the Levant. ...

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