Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oh Man, I Got a Bad Feeling About This

There's nothing like waking up with a head cold to dampen one's plans for the day.  Or maybe just to give one an excuse not to do much.

I woke up at about 6 this morning with my head so clogged I couldn't sleep, so I turned on the radio to see what was happening.  The host for the early morning music mix had just taken over from the night shift, and he whimpered that he had a "bad basketball experience" last night.  Indiana lost to Michigan, you see, or to Minnesota -- something with an M.  I appreciated the way he put it, though, because it summed up the cluelessness of sports fans everywhere.  But no: "cluelessness" isn't the right word.  It sounds too innocent.

In order for you to have a good basketball experience, Mike, someone else has to have a bad basketball experience.  To cheer your team is to wish a bad experience on the fans of the other team.  And vice versa: because you had a bad basketball experience last night, Minnesota fans had a good one.  It's impossible for both sides to have a good night on the same night.  I really don't understand how anyone can expect sympathy because their team lost -- especially since IU fans have been gloating in a most unseemly manner recently because their team won a few games in a row. And why?  Because, by an accident of geography, they happen to live in or near Bloomington, or once attended the university.

Some years ago, IU students rioted because the team had made it to the NCAA semifinals or something.  You have to start them early in case your team gets eliminated later on, as happened in this case; you wouldn't want to miss the excitement of Hoosier Hysteria. As is usual, the fans converged on Showalter Fountain, which was empty, and decided to see how many of them could cram into that space.  One of the celebrants was a young woman who lived in the dorm where I worked.  In the crush she fell down and was trampled, and her leg was broken.  Luckily, a young man whom the student newspaper called a "Sir Galahad" or a "Prince Charming" noticed she was in trouble, helped get her out of the fountain, and waited with her until the ambulance arrived.  In the hospital, she told a reporter that she'd been thinking of transferring to another school the following year, but her experience had changed her mind: "They've really got spirit here!"

Now, that was a good basketball experience.