by Ben Small
Once again, here it is the end of the first weekend of March Madness, and I’m out of the money on every single pool.
Bracket bust. I get afflicted every year.
And what’s worst is I’m a Hoosier, born and bred. Like it’s not bad enough that my beloved Hoosiers aren’t even in the tournament this year; now I gotta face all those folks who say, “Hey, I thought basketball was a religion in Indiana. How can your brackets consistently fail to perform?”
Oh the shame…
But that’s just the face of it. Look deeper, and the shame pervades like TCE in groundwater. The Surest Poison. Chester Campbell knows his stuff.
See, my high school coach was Marvin Wood, he who took tiny Milan High School which only had eight boys in the entire school and won the Indiana State Championship, back before they had classes tied to the size of schools. ESPN still shows fuzzy black and white video of that game. The stuff of legends.
Yes, that guy, the one portrayed by Gene Hackman in the sports movie classic Hoosiers. (Note: Wood wasn’t portrayed correctly by Hackman; Wood wasn’t recovering from any scandal.) Marvin Wood was a bit ironic, because Wood left Milan, the smallest school in Indiana, to coach at my high school, the largest school in the state, and my high school was never any good. See, Wood was a nice guy, but a really bad coach. Milan couldn’t afford a real coach, and Marvin Wood was the school’s driver’s ed instructor; he didn’t know squat about basketball. Instead of instructing his players that if there was no blood, there was no foul, Marvin Wood wanted them to be nice, polite and not to touch another player.
You won’t get far in basketball without defense and rebounding, and those two essentials usually result in a touching so hard assault charges can be filed.
Nope. Marvin just got lucky. Once. We all know nice guys usually finish last...
What? You don’t agree? “Tiger Woods,” you say? How do you think Tiger got that name? Tiger would eat his opponent’s young if it meant a win. Sure, Tiger is a nice guy in an elevator, but you don’t want to out putt him or Tiger might hit you with his three wood ... from four hundred yards away.
And if my bracket-bust ain’t enough embarrassment for a Hoosier whose team ain’t in the tournament, how would you like to have people say everywhere you go, “You must have played basketball, huh?”
Yup, I’m large and look like a basketball player. But I ain’t black, and I can’t jump over a beer can. I can’t outrebound my wife.
So not only do I have size sixteen floppy flat feet, look like a basketball player but I’m not, have no alma mater in the tournament, but now I have to endure being a born and bred Hoosier who couldn’t win a basketball pool if it was fixed.
I repeat: Oh the shame.
So maybe I’ll go murder somebody. Get some respect from the guy on the other end of the bullet.
Yeah, that might cover my shame ... until next year’s tournament … when I go bust again.