Some just don't give a hoot about March Madness

March 15, 2007|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

You say you don't understand what all the fuss is about.

In your office, knots of people gather like something out of an M. Night Shyamalan movie to scream at the TV.

Generally, the only time people scream at the TV is when the president is on, talking about the war in Iraq.

But now people are screaming things like: "How can they call that a foul?!" and "God, why is he taking that shot?!"

And the people who aren't screaming at the TV are sitting at their desks studying sheets of paper with brackets the way you'd study for the law boards.

Every once in a while, you hear snatches of whispered conversation from another cubicle: "Anybody seen Creighton play?" and "I luvvvvv UCLA in the West Regional" and "My man Kevin Durant is taking Texas all the way."

But you, you just don't get it.

"It's just a stupid basketball game," you say.

No, see, that's where you're wrong.

It's not just a stupid basketball game.

It's a whole bunch of stupid basketball games, spread out over the next three glorious weeks in what is known officially as the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Unofficially, though, it's called March Madness, and when you see how wrapped up the whole country gets in it, you realize it couldn't possibly come at a better time, at the end of another dreary winter.

(Which reminds me: How's the new daylight-saving plan working out for you? Is this weird or what? What time does the sun come up now, about 2 in the afternoon?

(I just read somewhere that people with depression due to seasonal-affective disorder are being thrown off by the time change, because they need to see daylight first thing in the morning and now it gets light later.

(Great. So for everyone who now gets to do a little gardening after dinner or hit a bucket of balls at the driving range, we'll have thousands of others staying in bed all day with the covers over their heads.)

But back to the stupid basketball games.

If you watch the people in your office screaming at the TV, you may notice that there appears to be someone inside the TV screaming back at them.

This person is, of course, Dick Vitale, the incredibly loud basketball announcer and Hooters pitchman.

Have you seen his new Hooters commercial?

No? Let me describe it for you.

Imagine an old bald guy in a shirt and tie surrounded by a bunch of giggling waitresses in the signature Hooters outfit of long, dark Amish dresses and bonnets.

Kidding! The giggling waitresses, of course, are jiggling around in their usual tight orange shorts and low-cut white T-shirts, and the bald guy is so thrilled to be amid all this giggling and jiggling that he looks into the camera and shouts: HOOTERS! IT'S AWESOME, BAY-BEE! AWE-SOME!"

Or something like that.

Yeah, the man gets a little worked up, whether he's shilling for chicken wings or expounding on Carolina's full-court press.

Basketball fans keep hoping Dickie V will dial it back a little someday.

But of course asking Dick Vitale to dial it back a little is like asking George Hamilton to stay out of the sun. Ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, how many people bring the kind of passion Vitale brings to his work?

Which is why I love the guy, even if he does have a voice that makes dogs howl.

If you're interested in my brackets -- and I don't know why you would be -- I have Duke losing in the second round, which will be satisfying to see if it happens.

The sight of the Blue Devils' bus headed to the airport for the flight back to Durham, N.C., would warm my heart, and I hope to see it on ESPN very soon.

Moving forward, my Final Four picks look like this: Wisconsin, UCLA, Carolina and Ohio State.

I have UCLA and Carolina in the championship game, with Carolina winning the whole thing.

But don't pay any attention to that when you fill out your brackets.

Look, I've never won anything in my entire life.

When I tell people this, they always reply: "Oh, come on, you must have won something."

Nope. Never won a color TV, never won a raffle, never won a basket of cheer.

Hell, I've never even won at bingo.

Who doesn't win at bingo? Everybody wins at bingo, right?

Do you know how unlucky you have to be to never win at bingo?

I do.

It's a really humbling experience, let me tell you.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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