A Cinderella Story
I’ve just discovered something new. Which is great actually because I’ve been going through, to put it mildly, a bit of a slump. I won’t sugarcoat it: it’s been a bad time. And at my age I’m not sure you could even call it a middle-aged crisis anymore, which really sucks. Life has felt small, mean, and tough. And while I know that everyone has ups and downs in this life, lately I sure did feel like screaming at the universe “HEY!! Universe! Throw me a frickin bone here!” Then something entirely unexpected came along just to remind me that life is in fact interesting, inspiring, hilarious, and vast: I got introduced to March Madness, and the whole crazy world of Sports Center, ESPN, etc.
I do realize this has been going on for quite a long time, I’m not a complete idiot and you certainly can’t entirely avoid the sports headlines, but frankly I always ignored it. Gonzaga? Oh really? Is that a type of cheese? Kansas State? Ugh. How boring. Purdue? Whatever. Then my brother, who now lives in London but does love to follow his favorite American sports stuff, sent me a strange text out of the blue: “Be sure and fill out your March Madness bracket in time! We are all in!!!“. I was sure he sent this to the wrong person so I texted back “Huh??“.
What is this “Madness” of which my brother doth speak?
Anyway, to make a long story short, I enlisted the help of my friend Jeff who lives in Kentucky and definitely takes part in such foolishness and I FILLED OUT A BRACKET!!! It’s easy! Try it! But then…well…I did set a small wager with my brother so I had to start watching the games and the updates and the backstories and the predictions and oh boy! This. Is. Amazing. Life-Affirming. Stuff. Let me explain:
Generally speaking I’m more of a theater/literature/philosophy person, but let me tell you: SHAKESPEARE HAS NOTHING ON SPORTS CENTER. The feuds, the rivalries, the dramatic upsets! The characters…villains, heroes, charlatans!! How have I not known about this?? A few examples from just ONE episode of SC:
- Alvin Gentry, coach of the New Orleans Pelicans: OUTRAGE over bad calls that have gone on ALL SEASON! His players have been PERSECUTED for God’s sake!!
- Stan Van Gundy, coach of the Detroit Pistons: also OUTRAGE at the way his players are being treated!!! It’s absolutely DISGRACEFUL! And he’s speaking up for the first time!!!
- Leonard Hamilton, coach of Florida State: Mature wisdom, calm reflection, and a virtuous modesty over an amazing and apparently quite unexpected victory.
- The entire team from the University of Virginia: Bitter tears, extreme frustration, and a RENDING of their uniforms at having lost to a NOTHING team whose mascot is a RETRIEVER for God’s sake! “…the soul’s slow agonizing descent into a state of such loneliness and despair as to be finally indistinguishable from Hell.” ~ Macbeth
Ah yes indeed. Who needs the classics when you can just turn on Channel 26 in the Time Warner cable line-up?
And then there’s this: Isaac Haas, 7′ freak-of-nature who is the BMOC of Purdue’s team, has a sister with severe epilepsy. He has been a loving and devoted brother, very personally affected by her increasingly devastating illness. As his star has risen, he has not forgotten her: he started a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough money to get her a seizure dog. Oh my God. Watching this story I cried like a baby…you would’ve thought it was a showing of The Notebook. I was so proud of Isaac! Gives one hope for the future of humanity! I love college basketball!!
As for my bracket…well. You see, I chose the NOBLE SPARTANS as this year’s champions…excellent record, superior athletes, good ranking. Of course you know they lost in the 2nd round. Everybody knows that. And so, my bracket is now up in flames.
“Life … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” ~ William Shakespeare
I disagree, Will. You just need to make your picks and fill out your bracket. It’ll cheer you up a lot. I promise.