Saturday, January 31, 2009

Open Letter #004

Dear NCAA Tournament Selection Committee,

As a long-time watcher of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, I am well aware that the name on the front of the jersey is supposed to trump the name on the back of the jersey. Indeed, there are still a handful of schools whose jerseys are blank on the back.

That said, we all know that individual performances are what transform the annual rite of March Madness into the must-see spectacle your advertisers so desperately crave and fans of the game all pray for.

To that end, I would like to propose that you somehow conspire to give us any or all of the following match-ups during one of the last two weekends in March or the first weekend in April:

Davidson v. Texas
On paper, Texas has entirely too much size for Davidson. Games aren't played on paper, though. They're played inside DVRs. And inside my DVR, Stephen Curry and AJ Abrams have been the two sweetest shooting little men this season. It could be the most memorable duel since Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton.

Oklahoma v. Pitt
Five words: Blake Griffin versus Dajuan Blair.

Georgetown v. Wake Forest
The two most tantalizing NBA prospects in this year's freshman class are Greg Monroe and Al-Farouq Aminu. They may or may not get matched up against each other if their teams were to face off. But, damn. All that length and athleticism? Also, Jeff Teague would be on the court.

VCU v. Gonzaga
As enigmatic point guards go, could you have a better battle than Eric Maynor v. Jeremy Pargo? Both could be in the same class as Teague. But, somehow, they're not. I see each developing into a Derek Fisher-calibre NBA player. Before they do, I would like to see them check each other this spring.

Kentucky v. Louisville
The names on the front of the jerseys should actually sell this one. But...can you imagine the shoot-out that could take place between Jodie Meeks and Terrence Williams? There's Burr v. Hamilton. There's Curry v. James. And then there'd be that. Just wet. Fiercely wet. Everywhere.

Those are the five match-ups I think all of America deserves to witness. Personally, I would also like to see Duke v. Notre Dame (Singler v. Harangody). But I don't know if the new digital broadcasting system is ready for such a profound lack of pigment.

If you could arrange for the five games I have proposed to take place, you would most assuredly be doing your patriotic duty in the highest sense. I encourage you to make them happen.

Very sincerely,


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The New, New Colossus

There are a bunch of words etched in stone beneath the Statue of Liberty. One line goes something like:
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
If you were in the District of Columbia yesterday, I'd wager that the phrase "huddled masses" has a very new, perhaps special meaning for you.

If you weren't there, then whatever you've seen, read or heard is probably very true. The Inauguration of President Barack Obama was something that will not be seen again. In any lifetime.

Amidst the blur of my own memory (which is admittedly sparse due to circumstances not worth describing) one thing stands out above everything else.

No matter how many people I stood with. How many people I walked with. How many people I tried not to freeze with. There was a profound lack of animosity hanging in the air between us. Over us.

That sense of frustration which often sours the collective joy experienced when masses huddle together to share a moment in time. The kind that creeps up when one too many of the millions bumps into the wrong person. The kind that seeps in when the elements reveal themselves to be patently unkind. The kind that trickles in when a wailing belly, blistering feet or a crooked back muddies up the emotions. That stuff...It was no where to be found. Not in any of the places I looked. And I looked in several places. Several times several.

Which is not to say that no one felt any of those things. Merely that the pangs of happiness and excitement which colored any one person's experience on our nation's mall yesterday far outweighed the pangs of unpleasantness that usually inform the briefer moments of such monumental gatherings. So, I presume.

The question now, I think, is: "How far will that joy carry us?"

Eventually, those bellies that cry out will not go unheard. When their wails drown all other sound, what will that joy do then? Will it patiently deliver sustenance? Or will it find itself sitting on some shelf next to another forgotten souvenir?

It's probably not the question to ponder while nursing yourself through one righteous hangover. But, at some point, the conversation will turn. When it does, I hope the masses who huddled will recall. And that the fear and loathing will be quenched. Again.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Oh Nine

Somewhere in a gumbo of Gran Turino, Yes Man and Seven Pounds, I have swum into another calendar year.

It's an odd-numbered one. Which tend to be pretty good to me.

And it features a 33rd birthday for this definitively trepid blogger.

33 was good for Thomas Jefferson. He was that old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

33 was (you could argue) good for a guy named Jesus. He rose from the dead at that age. (After he was brutally killed, of course. But let's focus on the good part.)

I'm not entirely sure what direction I'm headed in. But the gumbo tastes interesting right now.