Thursday, March 24, 2011

Putting the "Mad" in March Madness

It's that time of year again; I blogged about it almost exactly a year ago. You know what I'm talking about.

It's that time, when the best college basketball teams in the country face off against one another, and the public is unified by their intense interest in young men whose names they had never heard a week earlier.  It is also that time of year when some person of note makes a loud, public ruckus about the obvious social flaw revealed by our national apathy toward the woman's tournament.

This year, the ruckus-maker is Geno Auriemma, coach of the UConn woman's team, who used his post game press conference after an early-round win, to blast the UConn fans for not showing up to cheer.  His premise was that the fans are spoiled and consider it "a given" that the team will make it to the final four.  He surmised that they are all waiting until the more important games before showing up.

History and market research both tell us that he is wrong.

I think that most agree about certain, positive aspects of school sports programs.  They are great opportunities for student athletes to learn about dedication, teamwork, and leadership.  Many participants learn invaluable life skills and important lessons about winning, losing, commitment, and sportsmanship.  For those who choose to participate, these programs can change their lives in many positive ways.

However, benefits to the student athletes do not translate directly into "interesting spectator opportunities" and, unfortunately, woman's basketball is boring to the masses.  You can put it on TV but it won't pull a large viewing audience.  You can play it in a big arena but not many will come to see it.  And you can attach heightened importance to each game in a championship tournament, but most don't really care.

Memo to Geno, the fans aren't spoiled, they just have more interesting ways to spend their time and money.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Three Musk-a-tears

Contributed by Auggie
Insensitive sports fan

When Lebron James decided (on national television) to take his talents to South Beach last July to join Dwayne Wade and newcomer Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat became instant villains in the minds of many NBA fans. Count me among the many. I didn’t really have a problem with Lebron’s decision, and though his chosen method of announcement was boorish that’s not what swayed my opinion. No, for me it was the introduction party they held shortly after joining forces complete with an ostentatious video of the new “Big Three” (Wade, James & Bosh) strutting around a stage with smoke, music and flashing lights in a production that would have made Lady Gaga proud. “Hey everyone, look at us!” I guess it didn’t occur to them to include their inconsequential teammates in the video. All these theatrics were happening before they won a single game of course. And there was Bosh, perhaps the proudest one of all, right in the middle of the action with his scowl face (in mid-season form) and clenched fists swaggering around like he had just slayed the dragon. Quite a display of hubris from the man who single handedly renders the term “Big Three” a misnomer. They should call it “the big 2 with tag-along Chris”. Wade and James could pick up a three guys off the street and still win 45 games but Bosh seems to think he is a vital cog. Nope, I’m not Bosh fan.

Fast forward a few months and the Heat are in the middle of a five game losing streak and there is Bosh sitting at the post-game podium in tears. Ordinarily my senstive side would rise to the surface and I’d feel compassion for a fellow human in pain, but in this case I laughed so hard that beer came out my nose. Later on Bosh complained that he doesn’t feel comfortable in his role and suggested he’s not getting enough touches. Well imagine that; you put three guys together who are accustomed to being the focal point of their team, you have one basketball to share, and they can’t all be the big star. Who could have seen that coming?

Despite Miami’s recent struggles I wouldn’t count them out. They have the talent, and if they get hot during the playoffs they could ride that wave to a championship and have the last laugh on all us new found Miami haters. In the meantime, forgive me if I revel in their agony.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

Forty-four years ago today, the Stones hit number one on the US charts with "Ruby Tuesday". 

It's a nice song that has, as this short article summarizes, an interesting back story.  The short version is that Ruby Tuesday was the B-side of the single "Let's Spend the Night Together", but DJ's in the USA were uncomfortable with the explicit sexual references on the A-side, so they played Ruby Tuesday instead.  Next thing you know, it's at number 1.

For me, I have been searching for the meanig of the words "Ruby Tuesday" for many years.  I have scoured the internet, read way too many books on the Stones, and even written directly to Bill Wyman, who claims to love responding to letters from Stones fans.  So far, no luck in unearthing why those two words were chosen as the song's title.

I thought I was on to something once, and may have been, when I noted in Bill Wyman's excellent book "Stone Alone", that he referred to a particular day in Stones history, when Mick and Keith were arraigned in court for drug possession charges, as "Ruby Tuesday".  Alas, I could never confirm the meaning of that particular reference.

If you think you know something about this...please let me know.

Go Ahead...Try to Watch Without Laughing Along

The best part, is that the paper being torn is a job rejection letter.  Talk about a father turning a negative into a positive.