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Around The Bluhmin’ Town

Judy Bluhm~ 3/25/2015

What is the greatest invention of all time? No, not the wheel. Not the combustible engine. It is the round sphere, better known as a ball that has dominated the world. Imagine for one dismal moment that there were no balls. No baseball, basketball, football, soccer, or golf. Forget about tennis or volleyball. The planet would stop spinning, global economies would collapse, and billions of people would end up depressed and despondent. No games to play, watch, or bet on. No nachos and beer. No teams to cheer on. Entire television channels would disappear (maybe a good idea).

So here we are, another March is upon us and let the Madness begin. Yep, it’s that time of year when the NCAA tournaments send millions of fans into a synchronized frenzy. It’s pretty thrilling to watch over 60 teams vying for basketball’s biggest prize. Oh, the glory of heart-pounding, last second, buzzer-beating baskets that result in the euphoria of winning, while the rest will scream in agony and have to go home. There will be tears, sweat, and greatness with a champion team at the end of all this chaos.

So how did basketball begin? It originated in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts when a future minister named James Naismith was assigned to teach a physical education class at a Young Men’s Christian Association. The class had a reputation of being disorderly, and Naismith was told to invent a new game to keep the young men occupied. And since it was a very cold winter, the game had to be played indoors.

Have you ever played “duck on a rock?” Hmmm…I didn’t think so. Well, Naismith recalled this game of trying to knock a large rock off a boulder by throwing smaller rocks at it, and got the inspiration for throwing a ball into a raised box. Since no boxes were available, he used peach baskets as the hoops. Naismith drew up the rules for the new game in about an hour. Most of those rules still apply today.
The first professional league was formed in 1898 and the rest is history. Players at that time earned $1.25 to $2.50 per game. One hundred years later, Juwan Howard, a star player for the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) had competing offers of more than $100 million over seven seasons! Now that is inflation…or insanity! Which brings us to our current state of March Madness.

How is your bracket shaping up? This is some evil mathematical equation that allows us to over-analyze and obsess over every little stat. So let’s sharpen our pencils and figure this out. Oh, did I mention that the odds of making a perfect bracket are over 9.2 quintillion-to-one? In fact, the odds are so miserable that if every man, woman, and child in the world completed a bracket, the odds would be a billion to one against any of them being perfect! Why not just buy lottery tickets? It seems betting on the NCAA basketball tournament is big business, since an estimated $9 billion might be spent on gambling on March Madness this year!

Let’s forget about brackets for a moment and move on to “rackets.” Did you know that there is an increase in vasectomy procedures done during March Madness? Urologists all over the country advertise heavily in February, some giving discounts up to fifty percent off, with ads that scream, “Get A Vasectomy, Recuperate Watching the NCAA Tournaments With Free Pizza and Beer!” Dear Readers, I am not making this up! One doctor has an ad that reads, “If you have 4 kids and want to make certain that they are the FINAL FOUR – call for an appointment today.” Hey, I’d like to call a “foul!” This just doesn’t seem right.

One man said that having his vasectomy during March Madness was the “best week” of his life. Stayed in his man-cave, controlled the remote, ate pizza while his wife brought him beer and Advil. What a way to watch your brackets get busted. Long live Gonzaga!

Now the games have begun, work efficiency will drop for the next few weeks and a few men will be “laid up” while they recuperate from a certain “cut.” (No, I don’t mean nets or teams). Let the drama of the hoops begin!

So while we forget about other news for now and hold our collective breaths on which teams will make it to the Final Four, let’s forget about brackets. My Final Four picks this year? A large pizza, cold beer, the remote, and an ice pack are the only clear winners. Go Kentucky!

 

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.