In Which I Argue Northwestern Should Paint its Basketball Court Purple, and Immediately Feel Guilty

I shouldn't be this emotionally torn about a post about basketball courts. I feel like I'm betraying an old friend or deciding to finally give in and eat a ham and cheese after a lifetime of kosher living. I'd like my retinae to consider this first paragraph a premature apology for their damage in later years.. 

As you probably know, Northwestern announced that in a few weeks they'd be repainting their court and want to tell you them which one you like on Facebook. In all honesty, none of the courts appeal to my sentiments as a basketball court design traditionalist. All four feature the space under the three-point arc entirely painted-in, which is never good. I'm not sure why the lane has always been painted in and referred to as "the paint", but it is. 

However, the most egregious of the four is the third option, which paints the parquet purple and the area under the arcs white, with the paint once again in purple. I can say with no qualms that I believe it would be the ugliest court design I've ever seen. Unless you're playing on asphalt or composite - and there's no indication NU is replacing Welsh-Ryan's hardwood floor with any other material, in fact, I'd be pretty certain that isn't allowed by the NCAA - courts aren't supposed to be painted. And even if you are playing on a composite floor, it's ugly to have it painted, trust me, my high school's floor was grey with red lanes. So far as I can tell, no other team in the NCAA has a floor coloration that isn't just wooden floorboards. Boise State, inventors of the smurfturf, are humble enough to merely have giant horsey heads and hideous multi-colored basketballs alongside epileptic blue and orange three-point arcs on their court. UCF's floor transforms to beige. The NCAA's worst offender, Oregon, has the whole tree thing going on, but at least the court is wood-colored. (The court's worst flaw is that it doesn't have a clearly visible half-court line, leading to the somewhat heartbreaking conclusion of the CBI where a Creighton player didn't realize he had dribbled backcourt trailing by two with 14 seconds left, leaving him staring at the pencil-thin light-colored line on a light-colored floor that had just cost his team a shot at a championship, however meaningless.)

So, point being, the purple court is hideous. It will have ridiculous glare. It will make games unenjoyable to watch. It will make people from around the country laugh at us. It will be a purple basketball court.

But this is my post saying we should do it. 

Part of the reason this post is killing me is because its been done before. Boise State innovated by making recruits notice their blue turf - hey, we do things differently and we win games! - and it's been followed by a slew of wannabes, Eastern Washington with its bloodfield, and, well, whatever the hell Central Arkansas is doing with their field. Going alternate color on your athletic venue of choice is, more or less, a gimmick. 

But you know what? When you half-ass gimmicks - let's say, painting your three-point arc purple and making everybody hate you - aren't fun. They just make everybody hate you. Gimmicks, when you buy in wholeheartedly, work. Your balls must go to the wall. (It's an aviation term. Get your mind out of the gutter.) 

I like to think of myself as a basketball court traditionalist. If I wasn't, this post would just be HAY PURPLE IS KEWL TEH END and we'd be done. I still am kinda pissed that Madison Square Garden's paint is orange and not blue like it was back in my youth. But I realize that my favorite courts, are, well, kinda gimmicky. My mind immediately jumps to "The Hive" down in Charlotte where the Hornets painted honeycombs in the lanes, and had a giant trail behind the mid-court hornet. Sure, it was the 90's, and the Hornets could do pretty much everything and make it look cool, which sadly, hipsters have figured out.

NU doesn't have any cool honeycomb gimmicks. We have purple. We have all-purple everything. Purple uniforms, purple fan sections, and although we all know deep down inside purple isn't the world's greatest color, we buy in.

I'm not proud. I'm not capable of writing a convincing argument. I'm just offering to trade in my dignity, taste, and, to be honest, my better judgement, to throw my support behind the Northwestern purple court campaign. I don't want to do it, but for some reason, it just seems like what we need. Screw the "hey, recruits will notice it and think it's cool!" crowd - we should do this for us. Because we don't care how stupid it looks, we just wanna sip on purple. 

I would tell you to vote here, but, well, vote on Northwestern's Facebook page. Let your voice be heard.

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