Hi there, basketball fans. It’s time for the long-awaited matchup featuring the Southwestern North Dakota Screaming Snow Drifts and the Eastern West Virginia Possums in what promises to be a March Madness classic.
And a special thanks to AT&T which sponsors the entire month of March. Without their generosity, this tournament along with Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day and Grover Cleveland’s birthday would cease to exist.
A tip of the hat as well to Hoffmann-La Roche, manufacturers of Valium, for letting us use its trademarked term “Madness.”
Let’s throw it down to the floor, sponsored by Harry’s Hardwood, where our sideline reporter, who is in fact an aspiring actress pretending to know something about sports, will chat with Reggie Rimbuster, Eastern’s point guard.
Reggie, who suffered a wrist injury while resisting arrest, is averaging 3.5 points a game, which is 3 points higher than his grade point average. This interview is sponsored by Drone basketball shoes that promise to lift your game to another level. Drones, now with advanced weaponry.
“What are your emotions as you prepare to play this game, Reggie?”
“Well, you know, we’re looking forward to playing Southwestern because, you know, they beat us by 50 points last year so we’re, you know, upset because, you know, we thought we got screwed by the refs.”
“What are the keys to the game?”
“Well, you know, we need to score more points than them.”
“Thanks Reggie for those exclusive insights into the game. Back to you guys.”
And now here’s our other sideline reporter, a guy who admits he would rather be second banana in a TV sit-com, interviewing Southwestern’s coach, Chalk Talk Smith. This spontaneous interview is sponsored by Brainy Beer, the brew that will make you think you know it all. Be brilliant. Be charming. Be irresistible. Drink beer.
“Coach Smith, how do you approach this game?”
“Through the locker room door.”
“I mean, what is your strategy?”
“That’s up to my assistant coaches. My job is to scream at the refs.”
“Why do the call your team the Possums?”
“Because we play dead at home and die on the road.”
There you have it folks, insights from those who will participate in tonight’s game. Those insights are brought to you by McDonalds. Wherever you may travel, there’s a McDonalds in sight.
Stay tuned for a word from our sponsors: Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Fiat, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Lexus, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Arby’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Sonic, Subway, Bud, Coors, Millers, various telecommunication and brokerage firms, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.
When our sponsors are done, we’ll return with the halftime show.
So here we are in the middle of March Madness. Across the Atlantic, the term signifies the breeding season of the European Hare. In the U.S., it refers to the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball championships.
I suspect the U.S. version of March Madness is of greater interest, unless, of course, you’re a female hare.
There are 68 teams competing for the championship. For those of you with a long memory, there were eight teams in the tournament from 1939 to 1950.
Talk about an event that captures the public’s imagination: March Madness costs $1.2 billion for every unproductive hour, according to one estimate. “March Madness Ready to Distract Workers Nationwide," fretted Fox Business last week. "Say Farewell to Productivity: March Madness App released," declared PC Magazine.
So what do our fellow citizens do while goofing off? A story in the Los Angeles Times several years ago cited an FBI source that more than $2.5 billion was illegally wagered on the tournament.
I assume “illegally wagered” includes your office pool. It probably would be a good idea not to post your picks on Facebook.
And don’t spend your winnings quite yet. There are 9.2 quintillion possibilities for the possible winners in a NCAA bracket, making the odds of randomly picking a perfect bracket (i.e. without weighting for seed number) 9.2 quintillion to 1, according to one estimate.
Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. His columns can be found at Robert-Rector@Blogspot.Com.