ALL ABOARD | March Madness: In like a lion, out with a poem

This could be my first column written while tired.

Tired of dribbling.

Tired of the sound of squeaking tennis shoes.

Tired of bubbly cheerleaders, angry coaches and basketball in general.

What was so exciting to me last week has now fallen as flat as a cold pancake.

It’s the biggest basketball tournament of the year, yet most all of my teams have already been eliminated.

The Washington Huskies. Radford University. Cal State-Northridge.

If I liked them, they are gone.

If you did not fill out a bracket chart honoring this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament, you might still appreciate why

I will never be successful as a prognosticator of athletic achievement.

It’s in my genes.

Our family lives with a level of sports courtesy that does not permit rooting for a team for which there is no burning, impassioned, emotional significance.

Who needs odds?

In our family, we root emotionally.

We root for teams that are family alma maters, like cousin Pat’s Missouri Tigers or brother Lew’s Ohio State Buckeyes.

We root geographically.

We root for teams that are near where we used to live, like Chattanooga and Butler.

We root for friendship and for our friends’ faves, like Kathy’s Wolverines or Gene’s Mountaineers.

The benefit is that all of us emotionally charged rooters can together ride the waves of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

With only 16 teams remaining from the original 64, my blood pressure adjusts having survived last week’s extremes of emotional outbursts.

Get ready, blood pressure.

Time to balance my check book.

That’s our Big Dance.

I’ve had so many visits to local ATMs lately that as I approach I hear an automated voice saying, “Dude, we’ve got your pin.”

I am doing my best to help our local economy by eating at most of our island chow halls, even if I don’t always carry cash.

With only 22 percent interest fees on my credit card, why worry about what size tip I leave?

Speaking of tips, here is a tip for all the local poetry fans and seekers of home-style fun.

At 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, March 26, the fine folks at Langley’s Edgecliff Restaurant are giving us an opportunity to hold our monthly Island Arts Council Poetry Slam in their beautiful locale.

Stop by to enjoy some great food and beverages, along with a fast-paced ninety minutes of family fun while we write poems using words suggested by the all- ages audience.

Participants will receive prizes of some emotional significance.

The first enthused poet who writes about the joys of NCAA bracketology will receive an original, hand-written Seattle P-I bracketed chart, evidencing this entrant’s inability to prognosticate emotionally.

Additionally, the first poet who writes about basketball, fishing and squirrel gravy will receive the March 2009 issue of West Virginia magazine, personally autographed by a retired railroad lawyer who is also a distant relative of the Hatfields.

We’ll look forward to seeing you.

Just like bracketology fun, it’s all free.

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