Saturday, March 14, 2009
SHALL WE DANCE?
IT'S MARCH, Y'ALL! So you know what the McGlincheys are watching on TV, and it ain't "Dancing With the Stars" (that would be my mother and my grandmother). Apparently, not everyone in my peer group is as obsessed with NCAA basketball as I am - the Junior Woman's Club Spring Show was this week, meaning that I spent my Thursday and Saturday nights at Scott Theater instead of at a sports bar. (I did manage to "represent" on Thursday - burnt orange jacket, burnt orange ball cap with a rhinestone longhorn logo and a UT cell phone case, from which I extracted my phone each time my darling spouse texted me an update.)
This upcoming week being Spring Break, I'm feeling nostalgic for our law school days, when Spring Break meant hanging around the Erwin Center and watching first-round game after first-round game, and hollering ourselves hoarse, regardless of whether we had a dog in the fight. Best NCAA memories, tie:
(1) Purdue/Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1995, final score 49-48 (yeah, you read that right), ten corn-fed farm boys playing basketball in what seemed like slow motion (ever tried to watch paint dry?), and at the end of the game Parnell convinced one of the Wisconsin band members to give him his foam cheese hat as a memento. (The first guy he asked was sentimentally attached to his hat, as his band "big brother" had gifted it to him, but he helpfully shouted to the folks below him, "Hey, somebody give this guy some cheese." And cheese we were given. The former owner's name is written in it in Sharpie marker. It has a place of honor in our closet.)
(2) Arkansas/Texas Southern University, the same year. Final score: Arkansas 79/TSU 78. Halftime show score: Arkansas "pep band" 0/TSU "Ocean of Soul" one bazillionty trillion. Mind you, this was in Austin, in the heyday of the Texas/Arkansas rivalry, and the Razorback fans were in fine form (posing with their fingers up the nostrils of the Bevo statue, etc.), so we were kind of primed to cheer for TSU anyway, but seriously? Six guys with trombones, running in a little circle on the court, do not a halftime show make. The natives got restless and started shouting, "O-CEAN, O-CEAN, O-CEAN," completely drowning out the horns. When the OOS finally came out and did their thing - awesome, as always - the crowd went into a total frenzy (as a frame of reference, imagine the Jonas Brothers showing up unannounced at your local middle school). We figured it wasn't going to get any better than that (TSU, a 15 seed, had played a pretty abysmal first half against #2 Arkansas), and left for lunch. Turned on the radio and heard the words that no sports fan wants to hear when the stadium is in their rearview mirror: "Can you believe this? The underdogs have come from behind and are winning this game!" ABORT! ABORT! EXIT AND LOOP BACK! And then Arkansas won by a point. Grr.
So now Big 12 tournament time is upon us, and . . . whaaaaaaa? Missouri and Baylor? World's gone mad. Kinda fun, though. Made me think of this nugget that went around earlier this year - mostly relevant to football, but kind of applicable to basketball as well. (Note: When I received this the first go-round, the Texas entry ended with "Home of God's chosen people." I see that some hater has added "or so they believe." Perhaps a Razorback fan?)
IF THE BIG 12 CONFERENCE WAS THE MIDDLE EAST
BAYLOR: Lebanon. Everything they do is just a cluster, and no matter what they do, nothing ever seems to get better. Every once in awhile, they'll nip at the ankles of one of the larger nations, and annoy those other nations off just enough to where they're smacked down and consequently can't achieve anything noteworthy for the next ten years.
COLORADO: United Arab Emirates. An incredibly refined populace - probably because it's impossible to make it your home unless you're incredibly wealthy. Does its best to compete with its neighbors, but has resigned itself to being the playground of the region, instead of one of its traditional powers. Doesn't have a baseball team.
IOWA STATE: Afghanistan. There's really no reason that this nation should even exist, and if it weren't for previous colonial empires, it probably wouldn't. Easily overlooked over the last 300 years, its people are a ramshackle alliance of groups that don't belong anywhere else. Wishes to God, Allah, and whoever else that it would either cease to exist or be swallowed up by Pakistan to the south or the University of Iowa to the west.
KANSAS: Saudi Arabia. Not altogether a bad place; has had historical success in oil and basketball, and continues to be a world leader in those areas. However, parts of the ruling family tend to thrive on its excess, much to its detriment; a certain prince's fondness for American culture (especially for its sweet baked goods) could very well lead to its downfall.
KANSAS STATE: Armenia. No one wants to be here, especially the Armenians. What's more, nobody really knows where it is. First came to prominence just a decade ago, and nobody can really remember it existing as an independent nation before that. Primary exports: Corn, junior college transfers.
MISSOURI: Turkey. Still trying to figure out how it got mixed up in this region, anyway. They're a member of NATO. Shouldn't they be in the Big Ten?
NEBRASKA: Egypt. Was once a great power; its history, through the ages, is matched by few. Has languished in recent years, failing to recognize its new place in the world order as a follower, and not the leader it once was. Its people tend to be the friendliest to its neighbors, though still harboring a long simmering, yet contained, hatred for Israel.
OKLAHOMA: Iraq. Lies, cheats, and steals to get its way in the international community. If caught doing something wrong, or illegal, its excuse is that "everybody else has done it, we just get caught." No one wants to live here, but everybody that does wishes they could move away. Recently has undergone minor restructuring due to numerous ethics violations.
OKLAHOMA STATE: Syria. Nobody pays attention to them until they start mouthing off to the other nations around it. Will occasionally attack its neighbors, with varying success, with most of its successes coming in areas that others couldn't care less about, like wrestling.
TEXAS: Israel. Pretty much everyone else in the region hates them. Can destroy lesser countries at will using incredibly advanced tactics. Not relegated to the stone-age lifestyle of many of its neighboring nations. Home of God's chosen people, or so they believe.
TEXAS A&M: Palestine. Doesn't actually exist as an entity to really be dealt with, but loves nothing more than to take pot-shots at Israel, just to tick them off. Economy based on farming, with an emphasis on sheep. Continuously complains that they're the real power in the region, and that their status should supersede that of Israel. Religious zealotry abounds; small, infrequent attacks on its neighbors are hailed as 'moral' victories.
TEXAS TECH: Iran. Really, REALLY wants to be noticed in the international community. Will go so far as to fake the development of nuclear weapons, or choose homicidal, maniacal, self-aggrandizing men as their president/basketball coach, just to get noticed. Incredibly eccentric as a nation. Has a deep-seated hatred of both Israel and Iraq - and a huge inferiority complex to go along with it. Very arid, dry climate featuring frequent windstorms.