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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
As a girl that stands 5 feet 10 (and a half) inches, I get asked a lot of the same questions.

“Could you reach that for me?”
“How’s the air up there?”
“Do you play basketball?”

I’m pretty good at reaching things, and I like breathing in air that is above the bad breath at your level. However, the length of my limbs has always seemed to act against my athletic aptitude. I can tell you, in gym class, waiting to be picked among the asthmatic kids and the girl who didn’t know how to wear deodorant I hoped to get lucky with a team captain who made the same naïve assumptions everyone else does about tall people. Yet, my classmates generally knew better than that, and off went B.O. girl, her distinctive scent wafting behind her. Needless to say, sports and I never really found common ground.

But betting on sports is a completely different story! Especially when it comes to the winner-takes-all thrill of March Madness, and the entertainment value of betting on teams no one follows, nor can they pinpoint on a map. Sure, there’s rankings and seedings and statistics, but if you’re like me and read such things as though they’re written in Finnish you require a more unique approach in your strategizing.

This year’s strategy was inspired by Joe the Plumber, an average Amurrican blue-collar dude who just wants to do the best he can for his family, running his unlicensed plumbing business and moving that plumber’s butt of his from one speaking engagement to another. He knows that real Amurricans are winners, and only winners can be real Amurricans. That’s why I picked my bracket based entirely on the patriotism of the teams themselves. Little did I know this was a flawed strategy.

(Not for the reasons you’re thinking, either.)

North Division, First Round

Louisville versus Morehead: in all the years the conference has run, my friend Wells points out to me, there has never been a 16th seed upset against a first place seed. I tell him that the Morehead Eagle will pluck Louiville’s unpatriotic eyes out.

Wake Forest vs Cleveland State: Wake Forest Demons based in Salem? This country might be going to hell in a handbasket, but not because of the basketball teams that help send us there. Cleveland.

West Virginia vs Dayton: Dayton’s a Catholic university with a spirit squad called The Red Scare. Sounds like something Obama would dream up to scare us into communism. West Virginia’s fight song is “Take Me Home Country Roads”, back to real Amurrican values.

Boston College vs USC: Boston College Eagles. Enough said.

Michigan State vs Robert Morris: Colonials embody real Amurrica, and real Amurrica wouldn't exist without the hardship they suffered to plunder and pillage and make this land their own. Plus, they get to wear cool hats.

Western Division, First Round

BYU vs Texas A&M;: while Mormons are usually allowed to embody the American dream when Mitt Romney is around, everyone knows up against Texas A &M;, with the presidential library and the George Bush School of Governance and Public Policy, there is no question who the real winners are.

Washington vs Mississipi State: Washington’s fight song is “Bow Down To Washington”, otherwise known as Dick Cheney’s ringtone.

Marquette vs Utah State: Eagles take the ball in their claws and fly away with the win.

Memphis vs CSU Northridge: the Memphis team plays on Beale Street, made famous in the classic American tune “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn. The team is dunking “with their feet ten feet off of Beale…”

Eastern Division, First Round
Oklahoma State vs Tennessee: how much more American can you get than Cowboys…

Florida State vs Wisconsin: …and Indians! Tribally sanctioned Indians, no less. A crazy fire-wielding Native American mascot is Amurrican, and not offensive. The tribes said so.

UCLA vs VCU: UCLA embodies the hated liberal elite, and besides the VCU Black Awakening Choir won first place in 2005 Baptist Student Union National Choir Competition in Atlanta. Black Americans singing gospel in a southern state? It’s so beautiful, my tear drops are red and blue.

Villanova vs American University: There’s an American University? Uh-oh…I see a flaw in my strategizing…

Southern Division, First Round
LSU vs Butler: LSU fans are so spirited they’ve been hired to show up at all future Republican rallies. “A sound level resulted in the legendary “Earthquake Game”…The crowd’s roar registered on a seismograph, shaking the ground as much as a small earthquake. No other stadium has ever produced such a reading”

Arizona State vs Temple: Originally established as a nightschool, Temple’s motto of the past was “the owl of the night makes the eagle of the day”. No longer a nightschool, looks like we have a team of eagles on our hands!

Clemson vs Michigan: Clemson – how can you say no to a team that used the Eye of the Tiger as their fight song?

Oklahoma vs Morgan State: The Oklahoma Sooners, “a nickname given to the early settlers during the land run who snuck into the offered territory and staked claims before they were officially allowed to.” Behaviour also known as “the real Amurrican way” or “the sub-prime mortgage crisis that sunk Amurrica’s economy”. Winners, all of them.

I get kind of bored at this point, so lets skip to the final round.

Final Four

West Virginia, Texas A&M;, American & Oklahoma.

Texas beats out the WV Moutaineers because a presidential library crushes like rock crushes scissors. American Eagles are members of the Patriot League and wear red, white and blue, which make the Oklahoma Sooners feel bad for all of their illegal land grabs. Texas and American are a good match-up in the final, but the strategy flaw falls into place and American has to be awarded the title (cup? belt? trophy? money?). And I can go back to ignoring sports.

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