TITLE: Leading the League in... AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: April 16, 2005 5:51 PM DESC: A little levity for a weekend near semester's end. But there is a lesson: keep good company, and you can learn from them. ----- BODY: Scott Hastings, a journeyman NBA player from a decade ago, used to joke that, no matter how good Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson were, he himself always led the league in millions. Huh? Consider Hastings' typical line in the daily box score. He would get into the game at the very end, play a minute or two, shoot 0-0 from the field and 0-0 from the free-throw line, grab 0 rebounds, and have 0 assists. So his stat line always read something like this:
1 0 0 0 0 0 0
And there's his million. Michael, Zeke, and Magic could only dream of such a stat line! I claim bragging rights locally for another, perhaps less dubious, statistical feat, this one in the university library: I almost certainly lead the UNI community in most times checking a book out for the first time. I can't tell you how many times I've gone over to pick up a book only to find it in mint condition, not a blemish to be seen, with no stamps on the Date Due slip. This experience always gives me a little buzz, a sense that I am on the frontier. False pride, I know, but mostly a harmless diversion during a busy day. Just as Hastings owed his good fortune to the coaches, who put him into the game for garbage minutes each night, I owe my good fortune to colleagues like Rich Pattis and the many bloggers I read, who suggest hot and important books to me. By having well-read and deeply interesting friends and colleagues, I come into contact with books and ideas I'd otherwise only stumble across much later. I'm often surprised to find these books already on the library shelves -- a testimony to the good work done by by our bibliographers, both technical and general. Now, I just need a catchy name for this feat, so that I can impress unsuspecting friends and colleagues with a passing remark. Any suggestions? (In a similar vein, on Friday I checked out a book that had been on the shelves unread since 1971! A first-time reader, but only in the last two generations.) -----