I'm Not Much of a Dancer

March 13, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Let me start out by saying that I love the NCAA Tournament. It's one of the few major sporting events that actually succeeds in getting me pumped up and that lives up to the media-fueled hype machine (unlike, oh, say, the Super Bowl). Though to be fair, a good portion of that adrenaline comes from the endless string of Round 1 and 2 Cinderella upsets and the annoyingly fantastic CBS theme song. By the time the Final Four rolls around my attention has usually waned and the games never seem as exciting, much less memorable. The best part about the Final Four itself is usually the ending montage set to power ballads, memorable for it's replays (usually with audio) of the stirring aforementioned Round 1 and 2 upsets.

But regardless of the excitement which will kick in come Thursday and seriously threaten to impede my productivity at work, I find myself more than a bit lukewarm to college sports, especially college basketball. A variety of factors are at play here, the most prevalent being laziness.

I've found that as I get older and farther removed from college (shaking my fist at youth and applauding authority) I just lack the desire to keep up. It just all seems like too much work. Thus when the brackets are announced, my ignorance causes me to feign mock anger and exhilaration. "What, Drexel got the SHAFT!" I cry, not knowing where Drexel is even located, much less their overall record or how many 'quality road wins' they have. "How could Georgetown NOT get a one seed?" I lament, knowing only that Georgetown never seems to have any white guys and that Patrick Ewing went there. I look to my wife for approval but she fails to look up from her magazine. The cat seems disinterested in my concerns as well.

I know. I'm a Communist. I apologize. Here are some random observations from a lapsed college hoops fan (and Catholic. Sorry Mom).

- I went to a smaller school (Northern Iowa). Now I would be more than willing to keep up with the Panthers, but how many UNI games do you think get broadcast in Chicago? If you guessed 'one', you would be correct and I may or may not make out with you. Then of course there are the Iowa Hawkeyes. I think our own Chip plans on expounding on this later, but the Hawks just don't cut it for me anymore. For starters, Steve Alford is a douche who seemingly can't afford a decent suit, much less coach his team to a win. And then there's the whole fact that they haven't been exciting to watch (or necessarily good, per se) since the Dr. Tom era. Every year they should be good, but alas they are just not. And Iowa State? They stopped being interesting as soon as they canned Larry Eustachy for getting wasted and hitting on co-eds. The Golden Age of Cyclone basketball. Thus, I'm really a man without a team. My only legitimate options here in Chicago are Illinois, DePaul, Notre Dame and Northwestern. Hmmm..yeah...I think I'm gonna go cuddle up with a good book instead. Gay, yes. But a man out of options is a desperate man indeed.

- I'm married now and work 50 hours a week. I just don't have the kind of time dedicated to keep up. I mean goddamn it, there are over 100 teams. That is just uncalled for. Couple that with the fact that they don't have their names on their jerseys and that a good portion of the season is spent competing with football and I'm already behind the eight ball. I try to live a somewhat well rounded existence. That means I have to try to keep up on politics, movies, books, television, world events and adult shit like finances and real estate. That leaves precious little time to memorize the numbers of Marquette's starting five.

- While surely I understand the merits and relative innocence of college sports, college basketball is pretty far down on my list of favorite sports. If I had to rank, it would look something like this: MLB, NFL, College Football, NBA*, College Basketball (I've heard people mention something called 'hockey', but I think that's only considered a sport in Canada). Pro sports have less teams to keep track of, and you've already heard of all the players because they were the best the college world had to offer. And they have names on their jerseys. Nice. Anyway, when I ration out my time, that leaves about five minutes and 36 seconds per year to spend on college basketball.

- I can tell you this. Robert Parish did not retire. He plays for Ohio State under the alias 'Greg Oden'. Can we sanction an investigation? He's like the 30 year old Cuban kid that sneaks into the Little League World Series every year with a doctored birth certificate. The man is in his late 40's. He's only a few years away from collecting pension. And can we stop hearing about how he's playing with 'one hand'? Man is he milking that. I think he's been at 100% for months now but he wants to ride this 'one hand' thing for as long as possible. "How good could he be with two hands?" C'mon people. You're being had.

- I don't like it in college basketball when a team wins and they run towards the camera pulling their jerseys outward with their thumbs to show who they play for. Dude, I know you go to Florida A&M, but you know what? I'm not really givin' a shit, truth be told.

But you know what? All that said I'm still supremely excited for the next couple of weeks. I'll be taking more than the allotted hour for lunch. I will fill out the obiligitory office brackets, picking one that is fairly straightforward and one with lots of 12 seed over 5 seed upsets and Missiouri Valley Cinderellas. And I'm positively giddy with joy at the prospect of yelling nonsensical things at Billy Packer. If nothing else, the end of the tourney signifies the beginning of baseball. Bring on the Madness.

*To clarify, by 'NBA' I refer to the Bulls, and only the Bulls. I realize that no one really follows the NBA as a whole.
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