Monday, March 3, 2008

The Troll's Guide To Madness, Part 1

Well, it's that time of year again. The Super Bowl's history, spring training is just getting started, and the five and a half months of NBA Playoffs are still seven weeks away. And that can mean only one thing: tax season. Whether you prepare your own, roll the dice with a twenty-five year-old from H&R Block, or hire some fancy shmancy CPA, no other annual ritual drives us more bonkers. Thank God there's college basketball to keep us sane.

The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, also known as "March Madness," or "The Big Dance," or "Yet Another Opportunity To Gamble My Money Away," begins on March 20th. If you have no current plans to enter a March Madness office pool or other technically illegal endeavor, Pacatrue is hosting an online Yahoo Pick‘em contest (details available on his blog, sorry weblog), and while there’s no actual money at stake, you will get the chance to suffer devastating humiliation at the hands of the rest of us who know what we’re doing.

The first couple of weeks in March will be dominated by conference tournaments and the usual jockeying for favorable Championship Tournament seeding. Once the dust settles and the dance card is officially set on March 16th, I’ll be offering expert advice and inside tips so you’ll have supreme confidence in filling out your brackets, and, incidentally, I’ll have supreme confidence that I can beat you.

In the meantime, I thought it might be beneficial to relay some of the history and highlights of March Madnesses past, to instill in you a better appreciation for the significance of this event. Today though we’ll start simply by exploring the origin of the term “March Madness.”

While Brent Musburger is credited with associating March Madness with the NCAA Basketball Tournament in the early 80s, its origin goes all the way back to 1939. Henry Van Arsdale Porter, a coach and athletic administrator within the Illinois High School Association, wrote an article called “March Madness” for an in-house publication. It reads pretty much like an article written by a coach and athletic administrator for an in-house publication, wherein he waxes nonsensical about high school basketball, but it also has that added informally formal charm of an era when people still dressed up to attend sporting events. (If you’re interested, you can read it here.) But nevertheless, March Madness was born. Porter followed up this article with a poem, written in 1942, titled “Basketball Ides of March.” And as a treat for all of you writers-not-sports-fans who managed to make it this far, the poem has been recreated in its entirety below, without the express written consent of anyone.

Basketball Ides of March

The gym lights gleam like a beacon beam
And a million motors hum
In a good will flight on a Friday night;
For basketball beckons, "Come!"
A sharp-shooting mite is king tonight.
The Madness of March is running.
The winged feet fly, the ball sails high
And field goal hunters are gunning.

The colors clash as silk suits flash
And race on a shimmering floor.
Repressions die, and partisans vie
In a goal acclaiming roar.
On a Championship Trail toward a holy grail,
All fans are birds of a feather.
It's fiesta night and cares lie light
When the air is full of leather.

Since time began, the instincts of man
Prove cave and current men kin.
On tournament night the sage and the wight
Are relatives under the skin.
It's festival time, sans reason or rhyme
But with nation-wide appeal.
In a cyclone of hate, our ship of state
Rides high on an even keel.

With war nerves tense, the final defense
Is the courage, strength and will
In a million lives where freedom thrives
And liberty lingers still.
Now eagles fly and heroes die
Beneath some foreign arch
Let their sons tread where hate is dead
In a happy Madness of March.

Stay tuned for part two of this series, wherein I explain such oddities as the Gonzaga Flex Entry, bracketology, and Dick Vitale.

Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or other use of this post, without the express written consent of the NCAA, is strictly prohibited.

13 comments:

Mary Witzl said...

As it happens, I have a sports IQ of just over zero, but this must be a fine poem because the following lines made the hairs on my neck bristle:

"It's fiesta night and cares lie light
When the air is full of leather."

In fact, I could practically sit through a basketball game now.

What a scary thought.

Robin S. said...

Since time began, the instincts of man

Prove cave and current men kin.

On tournament night the sage and the wight

Are relatives under the skin.


I like this.

And I'm with Mary - other than understanding quite a bit about golf, and understanding why there are goals and endzones and home plates, depending on the sport, I'm dead in the water on sports rules, teams, etc.

But I think if everyone described them like you do, I might actually learn to care. Since they don't do this as well as you do, BT, I think you are now our official sports guru.

All right. I'm ready to learn.

Thanks for doing this!

pjd said...

Holy shorts, Batman! That poem is quaint in its sincerity. I haven't read the article yet, but the giggle of the week (so far) goes to your description of it (waxes nonsensical). This applies to the poem as well, I believe.

I do love the line about the air being filled with leather. That one's a keeper.

Regarding NCAA pools... I always pick from the heart, which means I always come in dead last because I'm a Cal fan. I haven't been getting many points in my brackets in recent years for picking Cal to go all the way. (I think the Bears should get into the tournament just out of goodwill because we in Berkeley allow sports haters to live in the trees. When does this karma get repaid?) The Bears are a rock-solid NIT lock this year.

I'm going to hop over to paca's weblog now. Game on.

pacatrue said...

Alright, I'm in the pool. You've convinced me.

BT, however, you seem to have some knowledge of basketball. This is a definite problem we will have to work through. I'll only let you in because I know that knowledge of basketball is of little help in winning. I, for instance, read a single article before last year's Dance that the Florida players liked playing together. I therefore picked them to win the tournament and rode them all the way to victory.

You're all going down. (Mary, and other BT guests, please feel free to join the pool. It's free to enter and free to pick.)

McKoala said...

BT's confidence may be his downfall...

Wonderwood said...

I love BT's confidence. I love the smack talking leading up to the conflict. I played golf yesterday with a guy who was talking smack while we were warming up on the driving range, and I proceeded to whip his ass and win two of his hard-earned dollars.

I'm just sayin'.

Wonderwood said...

Oh, and great post by the way. I thought the poem kicked ass.

blogless_troll said...

I'll only let you in because I know that knowledge of basketball is of little help in winning.

Well there goes Parts 8 through 29. Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag, paca. (But really, thanks for your sports and trivia contest hosting.)

I'm glad people liked the poem. I think I liked bits of it, but I'm not sure which bits.

And just a quick note on my confidence: it's just for entertainment purposes. I really don't need it, since I'm gonna win anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hi !.
might , perhaps very interested to know how one can reach 2000 per day of income .
There is no need to invest much at first. You may begin to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you thought of all the time
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with affiliates around the world.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your choice That`s what you really need!

I feel good, I started to get income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a proper partner who uses your savings in a right way - that`s it!.
I make 2G daily, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link http://vyqigeme.ibnsites.com/jycaqy.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
might , probably very interested to know how one can manage to receive high yields .
There is no initial capital needed You may begin to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you thought of all the time
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with structures everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to get real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a correct companion utilizes your savings in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I earn US$2,000 per day, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to join , just click this link http://jybelurixy.freewaywebhost.com/qytudem.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take this option together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Hi!
You may probably be very curious to know how one can manage to receive high yields on investments.
There is no need to invest much at first.
You may commense earning with a sum that usually goes
for daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'm ready to let you know my secrets at my blog.

Please visit blog and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I earn 1000-2000 per day now.

[url=http://theinvestblog.com] Online investment blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi!
You may probably be very curious to know how one can make real money on investments.
There is no need to invest much at first.
You may commense to get income with a sum that usually goes
for daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'll be glad to share my secrets at my blog.

Please visit my pages and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I earn 1000-2000 per day now.

http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com/2009/02/australia-arson-suspect-arrested-muslim.html