March Madness seems to be getting madder and madder each year, and there’s going to come a time when the whole month is given a full mental evaluation and finally committed to a psychiatric institution.
It’s no secret that March is bipolar. One day it’s acting like a lion. The next day it’s acting like a lamb. Baaa, I say. We celebrated the first day of spring with a nor’easter, so stick that in your generator and smoke it. Add the NCAA tournament into the mix and it’s clear that March is off its meds.
Did you fill out your brackets? This year, in the opening round, for the first time in the tournament’s history, a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed and 99.9 percent of everyone in the United States threw their bracket sheets into the garbage can. The other 0.1 percent were the moms of the players on UMBC, a fine academy of learning that I first thought was one of those cable news networks that Trump swears he doesn’t watch and then tweets about nonstop to the verge of tears for an entire weekend.
The rest of us knew that UMBC would be eliminated by the next game. If not in the tournament, then certainly by angry bookies who lost zillions.
UMBC was the “Cinderella” team, this year’s media darling. Every year the question looms: “Who will wear the glass slipper?” Without once mentioning how dangerous it is to wear glass slippers if you plan to dance to anything more complicated than a minuet. Plus, a glass slipper is REALLY uncomfortable and everyone can see your Band-Aids right through it.
Not all of the action is on the court. Some of the more interesting battles in the tournament are contested on the sidelines, between the school mascots. Have you ever seen a Horned Frog get into it with a Gamecock? Neither have I, but it sounds like one of those videos my wife sends me on YouTube. That clip where the wildebeest befriends a baby duck, patting it on the head? What they don’t show you is that right after the video ends, the wildebeest swallows the baby duck in one gulp, and the patting part was actually him applying salt and pepper.
CBS network has run into some criticism for training its cameras on children in the stands crying because their team is losing. The executive producer defended this practice in an interview, saying over and over, “We try to strike the right balance.” One kid was crying so hard, he looked absolutely balance-stricken. This has led to a whole new trend of overzealous stage moms stomping on their kids’ feet at the end of close games to get them on TV. One kid was bawling his eyes out and his team wasn’t even playing that day; turns out the kid is just a whiner.
You want something to cry about? I’m 6-foot-2 and I can’t dunk the basketball. Every time they went to pick teams in middle school, I would get picked first because of my height, only to reveal that while I could escort the ball into the general area of the basket, its exact location was kept a secret from me. I would have made all the foul shots if anyone would have made the slightest effort to foul me.
By the way, I see this all the time: The kid misses the free throw and all his teammates slap his hand, thereby rewarding his behavior. I have a dog, and if I gave it a treat every time it bit the mailman, I’d never get any mail and I’d still have a dog with a horrible free throw percentage.
But in the end, it’s all good. The losers are vanquished and the winners are extolled and they climb up on a ladder and cut down the net, ruining the court for everyone else. In the city they make the nets out of metal so you have to bring a Milwaukee Sawzall and an extension cord if you want to cut down the net, and if you try that crap in New York, the cops will be waiting to help you celebrate your victory at the arraignment.
Please join Rick and the No Options band, Saturday April 14, at The Back Nine, 2050 Route 6 in Cortlandt Manor. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.