SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


March Madness? Some folks just don't get it
Scripps Howard News Service


March 27, 2006

My bracket? Oh. Uh... the cat ate it.

No, no, I filled it out, right? And I set it on my desk when I left the office, and the cleaning people came around and must have thrown it away. Or stolen it. Right, there's a janitor out there putting five bucks in a pool with my picks in his hand.

No, I can't just write out another one. Because... well... OK, fine. Fine. I'll say it.

I don't care about college basketball.

I don't know which teams are doing well. I don't know which teams are in which divisions. I probably don't know the names of enough teams to fill out one side of a bracket.

I'm not in the office pool, I'm not following the games online, and I'm not milling around the television with everyone else in the gym. I'm just not interested.

How can anyone be so involved in a game that should, really, last only two minutes? The games go on for 40 minutes, with teams racking up scores in the hundreds. But most good games are decided by one basket, shot in the final seconds, after a quick time-out to go over strategy for the last two or three possessions.

If it's a close game (and they usually are), the first 38 minutes don't really matter. If it's not a close game, you probably turned it off after the first half.

Baseball games last for hours, but you can get a beer, have a spicy met, and zone out a little. Football plays rarely last more than 15 seconds each, with plenty of time in between for nachos and bathroom breaks.

Basketball is this non-stop, back and forth, point after point game that you can follow basket by basket, or ignore until the very end, and still have the same experience.

But it's not just the wasted time, it's the inflated score that gets me. It's just too easy to score a point. I can't respect any professional sport wherein I, a newspaper columnist, could possibly score a point. I could never run a football for a touchdown or hit a fast ball over the fence, but I could probably get lucky with a granny-toss from inside the 3-point line.

And really, I don't have the attention span for any sport that ends at 131 to 132, and gets there in increments of 2 or 3. If I don't have the patience for one 40-minute game, how can I be expected to make it through 63 games over the course of one 20-day tournament? There are just too many numbers here. I need nachos.

But unfortunately, March Madness is more than a basketball tournament - it's a social obligation. People want to know who you're pulling for, how your bracket is doing, and if you can believe all these upsets. And if you're not following the tourney, well, there must be something wrong with you. You must not be right. You might even... hate America. Which isn't going to make you look good when the salary review comes around.

So for another year, my immunity to the Madness will be a secret. And next March I'll have a better excuse than the cat.


Ben Grabow writes for the young, the urban, and the easily amused.
Contact him at thinlyread(at)
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.

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Ketchikan, Alaska