Sure, we explained March Madness for the regular guy, but what about for the fop? The game of “baskets-to-balls” remains a mystery to the landed gentry. Our resident noble gently explains the game to those of you have only seen it while surveying the many stadiums you own.
I have never filled out an NCAA bracket in my life. To me, March Madness has been, and always will be, the nine-day waistcoat and pocketwatch sale at L.W. Bamberger’s. You truly cannot believe what these gentlemen will have their servants do simply to save a few thousand dollars. But every year my coworkers and friends are swept up in “NCAA fever” and I felt it my duty as an intelligent and informed citizen of this great nation to apply my superior intellect to this upstart sporting tournament to show how there is nothing “mad” about it.
For those of you unfamiliar, basket-ball is a recreational past-time in which young millionaires with pituitary imbalances bounce an orange kickball around a playing quadrangle while wearing their pajamas. Each team tries to deposit the kickball through an iron ring draped in a tiny fishing net. The spectators at these events get very excited at the sight of this act, despite it occurring every 18.45 seconds. Teams do not attempt to stop the other team from performing this act by, say, pushing their opponent over and taking the ball, but instead mime a defensive action while watching with rapt attention as the opponent “makes” a basket.
Each team has an accountant, identified by his suit and tie, and who stands along the side of the quadrangle with the millionaires shouting what I assume to be tax advice at them. Periodically, a gang of strumpets take to the quadrangle in their bathing suits and cavort in a suggestive manner, but I have been unable to determine how this performance affects the score.
College basketball, where most of the players are not yet millionaires, has its final tournament in March, in which every college in the world is invited to compete. The term “March Madness” was coined after several scheduling committees were actually diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and committed to a sanitarium, and later lobotomized, but let us save the sad tale of Mr. Bobby Knight for another day. The ultimate goal of filling in a tournament “bracket” is to choose the final four contenders, who outlast all others. And using my shining patrician logic, I have chosen the 2012 Final Four. The choices could not be more apparent.
1. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Every made basket is a quick study in ballistics. Calculating the trajectory of the ball from any point on the court requires one to sort through a textbook full of variables, including distance, velocity, initial height of the ball, and the coefficient of drag. This last variable can make or break a shot when playing Colorado State. The MIT Engineers, versed as they are in math and science, are able to make these complex calculations dozens of times per game, without pulling out their calculators, as CalTech often does. Also, they can hack the scoreboard.
2. Air Force Academy
They don’t even need players anymore. The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAV can hit three pointers from 50,000 feet at an 88% success rate (as well as 96% of layups) and can be operated by a team of two from the flight control facility at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs. The roofs of most collegiate arenas are easily ingressed using a Raytheon GBU-24 Paveway III or if necessary a GBU-57 Massive Ordinance Penetrator equipped with an NCAA regulation 22-ounce enriched uranium warhead, with statistically insignificant civilian courtside casualties.
3. Oberlin College
Oberlin is home to a world-class conservatory of music, so while opposing teams are falling asleep to the same old fight songs and victory marches, Oberlin competitors and fans will be brought to an adrenaline-filled emotional zenith by a sublime rendition of the third movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 in D major by Oberlin’s Bandstand Philharmonic Orchestra. The Oberlin musicians will also be able to confuse and agitate their opponents with complex 12-tone pieces by Anton Webern. Additionally, active and vocal LGBTQ organizations at Oberlin and a sizable gay population mean fewer of the all-male players will be distracted by the suggestive motions of the retired dancers in bathing suits, instead focusing all their attention on opposing players.
4. NTU (National Taiwan University)
Jeremy Lin is from Taiwan. (By way of Harvard, but let us be candid; they’re not winning anything.)
Honorable Mention: Johnson and Wales
While most teams are stuck in the drive-through at Chick-fil-A and sleeping on broken cots at a Super 8, the players from this culinary and hospitality college in Providence will be feasting on braised wild hare in a port wine sauce with black truffle potato ravioli, and will have spent the night before the tournament in exquisite five-star accommodations including complimentary in-room massage and full concierge services, also complimentary.
Honorable Mention: Syracuse University
I ate at an IHOP in Syracuse, NY once. It was decent. Also their mascot is a giant testicle. It IS.
Astute fans of the sport may cynically point out that several of these teams are Division-III, and one doesn’t even play in this country. I find this an elitist, racist, close-minded attempt to hold back young athletes, coaches, and staff who work just as hard, and sacrifice just as much, as their Division-I colleagues, and who do so without the benefit of sports scholarships or million-dollar sports endowments. SHAME ON YOU.
Christopher S. Wilson is a gentleman of letters and an artist of violence.