Nothing like a March 24th snow. I swear that we just melted off most of the snowpack the other day. It was briefly 50 degrees in Monponsett today, but that all goes out the window tonight when the 6-10" of the Monponsett White falls from the heavens and kills my rhododendron.
7:43 PM, and the first flakes are falling. Paul just came over, and he had snow on him. Monponsett has had the worst winter snowfall in their modern history this year, and we look to pad the total with tonight's offerings.
It toughens you. That which does not kill me makes me stronger. Mother Nature doesn't play fair. That's why God made Jeeps. Life is dangerous, but you deal with it. I have done some teaching, and small-town schoolteacher sounds like a fairly safe career move...until some freak mows down 9 kids in some Cowtown High School.
Too bad blogging doesn't pay. Nice and safe in my office, unless I accidentally electrocute myself....which is possible. I started an impressive kitchen fire once with a failed pizza, and I was briefly electrocuted during both the Perfect Storm and a nameless 1998 nor'easter. While I'll spare you the details...please be careful around electricity during floods.
As long as you survive, my doctors say that a good electrocution actually has positive health benefits. My cholesterol count lowered, any cancer I was carrying was fried like Chong("If science could figure out a way to safely electrocute people, cancer would kill maybe 8-10 thousand people a decade"), and my heart is now conditioned to handle exertion that would kill a "normal" person.
To this day, I carry a slight electrical charge that makes my immune system as tough as a Georgia prison guard. While my surgeon could make no guarantees, a science known as Medical Physics says that I may live to be 140-175 years old.
Maybe if I live to be 175 years old, I'll understand the Madness. I can't call myself a big college hoops fan. I don't hate it by any means, and a good game is a lot of fun to watch. I'm simply not at all into it.
Here's why I'm not that big on the NCAA:
- Without fanatical devotion, it's pretty hard to keep up with who is who. They roll everyone over every four years, and most of the good players only peak for a year or two.
- Notice how I didn't say "great." Any great player goes straight into the pros these days. Lebron should be in that tournament, as should Amare and Carmello and pretty much every other top ten pick of the last three years that isn't from fu**ing Latvia or something.
- Maybe because of that, it's a coach's game. I've done some coaching, and it is easier to look like an ass than it is to look good. Coaches have a lot on the line- money, reputation, potential recruits, and so forth- and they have a tendency to play it safe.
- Which leads to the same play being run all the time. Pass it around the perimeter until a defender doesn't shift properly.... at which point comes the 20 footer. Repeat again and again, until the last minutes...when it becomes a foul shooting contest.
- One of the Unspoken Truths of the NBA Youth Movement is that a whole generation of kids saw Air Jordan get stifled by the Carolina game plan. Olajuwon and Sam Bowie (both of whom would probably have gone pro after their freshmen years these days) were drafted before him. While headier fans could see the Beast waiting to emerge in Jordan's college game, it wasn't until he was in the pros that he became a juggernaut. That cost Air some $$$.
- Jordan was out there with James Worthy and Patrick Ewing. Talk about how the NBA has dropped in talent....think you'll ever see a college game with that level of talent again? Every single one of those guys- even the late blooming Jordan- would be in the NBA by the time they were 19. Care to see that much 20 year old talent on the court these days? Maybe when the Suns play Cleveland....
- Remember Tim Duncan? He was the last truly dominant center in college ball. If you know a seven foot high school player, he's probably already being courted by the pro teams. Only the abject humiliation of saying it is preventing David Stern from announcing, "With the first pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select Shaquille O'Neal's sperm."
- It's the Big Dance, but it's the Same Old Song And Dance. You can pencil Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, and three or four others into the Sweet Sixteen every year. Every single year after year after year.
Ever notice how the consistently great basketball programs tend to be Southern schools that aren't good at football? Granted, a UCLA or a UConn throws a wrench in that theory...but if you bet it every time, you'd end up with a slight profit.
- You can predict most of the results without knowing that much about the sport. I used to work at a place where our tournament pool was won by a Canadian English teacher who was picking her teams by jersey color and nicknames....to the brutal agony of all the guys in our pool who were vehement supporters of one squad or another.
I'm guilty of it myself, and I'm currently 4th out of 24 people in my AOL pool. My ranking will drop as the folly of choosing a school that actually gave me a degree becomes more and more appearant in the later rounds. Remember kids...absolutely NEVER bet your heart. Root with your heart. Bet with your gut. Know the difference between the two.
Watch this..."The 2006 March Madness will feature strong teams from UNC, Duke, Arizona, UConn, some Big Ten school, Kentucky, Syracuse, etc....the final game will either be a blowout, or the foul shot yawner I described earlier."
Whoever disputes my points....check your bracket. Check your past brackets, and remember to check your future brackets. See if I'm wrong.
- Kentucky has the hoop team, Ashley Judd, the Derby, and nice weather...but enough is enough. Bring back the UNLV backcourt in a hottub with a known bookie. Throw Ashley in there, as well.
- French major, I might add.
- I get a strong sense of Only Game In Town watching college basketball. If it weren't for college sports, I'd have no idea what people from Nebraska or Oklahoma State look like. I wasn't able to turn on the telly last weekend without seeing some school from Iowa. "Hun....come quick ....Gonzaga vs Winthrop is about to start!!!"
The fans have the star-struck, bright lights/big city look commonly seen on the gold medal podium at the local Special Olympics. If these people were spending just a little more time back on the farm, movie popcorn wouldn't be $6 a bag.
- Harvard goes for about $35,000 a pop. I'd presume Oklahoma State costs less. A good team like Duke can probably charge a fairly hefty ticket price to attend a game. Even if they give a bunch of seats to the students, they still can make money selling the rest of the tickets.
By contrast, a guy named Kendrick Perkins left high school and went straight to the Boston Celtics. He makes $729,500 this season. He was a late first rounder, and he signed a guaranteed 3 year deal. He had his first million banked while guys at Florida State were still getting excited about being allowed to shoplift from a Foot Locker in a booster-owned mall.
Fellow Celtic young'un Tony Allen did 4 years of college, and he was drafted around the same spot as KP. He makes a little more money, but he's not over a million. He has a nice Oklahoma State education to fall back on if he's out of the league in a few years.
Kendrick and Tony could both flop out of the league by the time they are 27 years old. They will both make minimum NBA money until then. The difference?
Tony spent years 18-22 of his life playing for whatever a years room and board is at Oklahoma St, Wabash CC, andButler County CC. Kendrick spent those years taking a few million dollars from the Celtics. If Kendrick decides to try college, he can do so at an easy pace....not the breakneck practicing/halfhearted classroom effort of the "student-athlete."
Someone's getting paid a fortune when these games are played, and it's not the kids doing the sweating. Not since the days of the War of Northern Aggression have groups of blacks been exploited to this particular financial tune. Lebron could BUY a place like Yale if he wanted to.
- Not a lot of these "student-athletes" finsih their degrees....and some of these schools are not that difficult.The entrance exam for Central Florida involves spitting tobacco juice into an Dixie cup from 5 yards. Once arenas start filling to watch ringers, you just have a pro team with exceptional access to sororities.
- The opening of each tournament goes to show you how much hype can be laid at the feet of some pretty Boondock State kind of teams. For every Bucknell that advanced, how many Winthrops and South Mid Central Louisianas were cast aside, exposed as the opening round fatteners that they were?
Watching 30 games of Big School Crushing Small School to finally see two truly talented twenty year old kids on the court at the same time is like watching a porno film with interminable buildup dialogue scenes between the facials.
Porno film producers understand timing, and most sluts in those films are up on the dill pretty much immediately.Videotape costs money, and movie fans really don't want to see Tiffany Mellons talking about her aspiring acting career over a chicken dinner first date at some Applebees. That's what Natalie Portman is for.
While I'd watch 2 hours of My Dinner With Andre if I knew that somewhere at the end I'd get to see Renee Zellwegger take on 4 or 5 Crips in some overlit California motel room...once you come to terms with your true beast, they have the better videos behind the desk.
A great tournament will happen thismonth, and much of the nation will be enthralled. I may even get psyched for the final game, myself. Maybe. The NCAA better try a lot harder than they have been. I'm not some captive audience, college-sport-town-only rube...and if I see a boring game between two moderately talented squads, I'm Audi.