Let's put off our discussion of how this simple little cart is an example of the overall need for facility improvements for the LSU basketball program. If it belonged to the football team, it would be on the scrap heap. A high school track team would have torched it into practice batons long ago.
Instead, let's look at how this cart is so obviously symbolic of the LSU basketball team.
The Tigers have been bent and battered throughout the 2001-2002 season, losing players along the way to injury. To start with, JueMichael Young was out for the months of November and December after suffering a late pre-season foot fracture. Collis Temple III has missed six games with a string of compounded leg injuries and is now seeing very limited action while being far from 100 percent. Plus, Thomas Davis hasn't been heard from in two weeks following a knee injury.
As a result, the Tigers have battle to a 4-10 record in the Southeastern Conference and a 14-13 overall record. Five of LSU's league losses have been decided by five points or less, but another six have seen the Tigers lose by double digits.
But despite the heartbreak and disappointment, the Tigers show up each game – seemingly held together by chewing gum and rubber bands at times. And when the wheels fall off, they put them back on again and try to keep on rolling.
Head coach John Brady has taken his lumps throughout this season, too. In the midst of an offensive drought from the Tigers, he seemed powerless to pull the team from its depths. Brady, having also absorbed punishment for past recruiting mistakes that have come back to haunt his program, staunchly defends his actions, his team and projects a strong future for his program.
As for the cart's future, the easy answer might be to replace it. A new one would certainly provide a convenient solution to the problems of the old one. But who's to say the new one won't end up in the same shape after a year or two? Maybe it's worth a look into how the old cart got into such bad shape in the first place.
But keep in mind the old cart has stood the test of time while being so cosmetically unappealing. Perhaps with a couple of spot welds and a polish, the old cart can still get the job done for years to come. There is a lot to be said for continuity and sticking with something you know you can rely on for a consistent effort each time out.
The bottom line is that someone has to take a look at how things can be improved – whether it's the cart situation or the LSU basketball team.
The wheels have to stay on in order to keep things rolling.