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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Tournament? What Tournament?

When it comes to baseball, I consider myself a fan of the game. No matter who’s playing, I can appreciate the rituals, the nuance, and the subtle strategy involved. Or I can have fun watching the Yankees lose a game — whichever’s more convenient.

Then there’s the brutal ballet of pro football. The spine-jarring hits, the mano-a-mano battles in the trenches, the dance of the receivers and defensive backs across the field. It’s elegant, even beautiful in a certain way. In the right frame of mind, I could watch just about any NFL matchup.

“If college hoops was outlawed tomorrow, it’d save me an awful lot of time to obsess over something else I have no control over — like the weather, or the prime interest rate, or what color drapes my wife wants in the bathroom.”

That brings us to college basketball. I don’t love college basketball. I don’t even like college basketball, exactly. I have one team that I live and die with, whether I like it or not. ‘Love the game’? Screw the game. If college hoops was outlawed tomorrow, it’d save me an awful lot of time to obsess over something else I have no control over — like the weather, or the prime interest rate, or what color drapes my wife wants in the bathroom.

True, I’d never be able to celebrate another of my team’s wins — and there are a number of wins, I’ll admit. But many of those wins are less than significant — if you beat Southwestern Vermont Agricultural & Technical Community College by three at home in December, is it really cause for cracking open a bottle of champage?

(Not unless you want to get a good buzz on, so you won’t think about what’s going to happen when your squad plays a real team. And even then, you’ll want something like tequila, rather than champagne.

Gotta get there fast, before the panic sets in. Champagne is for rich people and basketball fans without OCD.)

On Sunday, the teams for this year’s ‘March Madness’ hoops tournament were selected. Sixty-five teams were selected — including a few that would have trouble keeping up with that Vermont A&T CC team. But not my team. And that hurts.

My team was supposed to be included. I even went out Sunday evening to watch the tournament selection show. And that’s way too much Gumbel to be exposed to without a payoff at the end. I got no payoff. I got nothing but a big fat spoonful of Gumbel, with a side of Billy Packer and a glass full of Clark Kellogg to wash it down. That might be part of a balanced bullfest, but it tastes like ‘bitter’ to me right now.

So, I’m out. As far as I’m concerned, basketball is over, at least until the fall. I’m not watching any stupid games, I’m not filling out any stupid brackets, and I’m certainly not listening to any more stupid Gumbels. I’m in full-out boycott mode. March Madness can suck suck it from three-point range.

Meanwhile, all of the people who care about such sporting events still care about this one. And several of them so far have assumed that I care, too. When I do not. Not in the slightest. This has led to some awkward situations, of course.

First it was my boss, who asked me this morning what I thought of some matchup or other. I half-lied and told him that I don’t follow college basketball. Then I really lied, and said it was a ‘religious thing’. Which I followed with a whopper lie, explaining that the sweatshirt I was wearing at the time with my school’s name on it was in support of their three-legged race team. Gee, do they have a basketball squad, too? Gosh, I never realized. Whaddaya know.

Then, my buddy emailed me about a $10 tournament pool he’s entering, and a bracket suitable for printing. He’s seen me watch basketball before, so I had to take a different approach. I tried telling him my printer was broken; he offered to bring one over himself. I tried telling him I was broke, and he offered to lend me the ten bucks. So I told him that someone stole all my pens, I’ve forgotten how to read, and my arms have temporarily fallen off, so I can’t fill out a bracket. He seemed to buy it, but I’m in for another awkward explanation next time I see him.

It seems like everyone’s been talking about this damned tournament the past couple of days, and I’m tired of it. Even my wife is against me on this one; when I got home tonight, we had this exchange:

Beautiful Patient Wife: ‘Who would you take on a neutral court — Ohio State or Florida?’

Bitter Unstable Me: ‘Who cares? Screw ’em both. Basketball sucks.’

Beautiful Patient Wife: ‘Don’t be mad just because your team didn’t make it. I’m reaching out for help here.’

Bitter Unstable Me: ‘Okay, I’ll help. Your bracket’s going to lose. You’re wasting your money. And your team — who somehow eked into the stupid tournament — is going to lose in the first round. If not before. Also, you’re a big poop.’

So now, thanks to college basketball — which I hate, by the way — I’m sleeping on the couch for the next three weeks. At least from there, I’ll have control of the remote. And we’re not watching ESPN, or any basketball, or any bullshit reeking of Gumbel, at least until September. Bah.

So. Is it baseball season yet? I’ve got a few weeks to kill here.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “Tournament? What Tournament?”

  1. Jerry says:

    C’mon Charlie,

    Deep down, WAY deep down, you know you love college basketball. Now the NBA, feel free to hate them, including my local Pacers.

    We’re down to the Elite Eight right here on CBS!!!

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