THE PLANK MARCH 27, 2008
Of course March Madness is great.
"The best spectacle in sport." "Three weeks without equal." Blah blah blah. Not
content to leave well enough alone, we want to know if it can be
We're in search of a more perfect
tournament. So, we asked a few friends of the magazine if they had any ideas for
improving the NCAAs. Here's what Will Blythe, author of To Hate
Like This Is To Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently
Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina
Basketball Rivalry, thinks we should do.
In the spirit of Hugo Chavez, here is my suggestion for
improving March Madness--nationalize the office pool. Let's enjoy a month-long
federal holiday of legalized gambling. Economists estimate that Americans spend
billions upon billions of dollars on office pools. Why not use some of the
proceeds from that enormous (and technically illegal) pool to give scholarships
to poor students who can't dunk so that they might afford a college
Brackets will be made available on Monday morning after
Selection Sunday at gas stations, convenience stores, and cigar shops, of
course. But they will also be provided through schools, court houses, and other
public institutions. Scientists at NASA will calculate the odds for teams to
advance to the Final Four. The CIA will repair its image for politicization and
poor intelligence gathering by providing for free real-time appraisals of all 64
teams in the NCAA tournament field, based on human intel, satellite
surveillance, and court-sanctioned wiretaps.
So many televised occasions have become compulsory to
our identity as Americans these days. There's the Super Bowl, the Academy
Awards, Bret Michael's Rock of
Love. And, of course, the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Everybody
tunes in because everybody tunes in, leaving only sour dissenters and those
without digital cable boxes outside of the national conversation. Screw them.
Let's everybody else make money and help the poor receive an education by
watching more TV and filling out our federally-sponsored ballots for the
candidates we really care about--the sixty-four basketball teams of March