Thursday, March 20, 2008

Almost Christmas?

By Pauly
New York City

I have been waiting for today for a very long time. It's sort of like Christmas morning for me. Well, at least for hardcore hoops junkies and degenerate gamblers, today is Christmas morning since March Madness is less than four hours away from tip off.

The last seven days or so has been full of excitement and anticipation for me. I've been living a hectic travel schedule and have not been able to watch a lot of sports. However, I immersed myself into college basketball since my return from Langerado. I scouted dozens of teams. I watched as many games as possible. I also took a few notes and made a couple of feeler bets... all in preparation for March Madness.

It used to be a simple basketball tournament. Heck, there was a time when the NIT was the premiere tournament. Alas, times have changed and March Madness had grown into a money-generating beast. Everyone is benefiting except the players. CBS and ESPN make a shitload of cash from advertisers. The NCAA and the universities get a cut. Ah, and I don't want to throw the race card int here, but... the majority of college basketball players are black. I dunno the exact number, but it's always uncomfortable to take a step back and gaze upon teenaged kids (mostly black) doing all the work while some fat cats (mostly white) are getting richer and richer off of the profits. Maybe a dozen or so players will succeed in the NBA and take home multi-million dollar contracts, but for 95% of guys on college hoops teams, their basketball careers are coming to a close.

Maybe that's why I dig March Madness so much, because it's such an American past time. Rooting for the under dog while overlooking the obvious racism and the illegal gambling that's going on from the bookie taking bets at the corner pub to the hoops enthusiasts in your office who is running the pool. Millions of dollars are being wagered on every single game, while millions of fans and bettors are at the edge of their seat waiting the outcome on the last second free throw.

I love the rush and the excitement while watching the games and betting on as many games as I can handle. The opening weekend of March Madness is the perfect excuse to sit around and do nothing for four straight days, smoking hundreds of bong hits, and getting nauseated by the CBS announcers and the same fuckin' ads that by the end of March Madness, you would have viewed over three hundred and fifty-eight times.

I hardly slept last night. I was up by 6am and jogging. By 8am, I finished a 35 minute run, wrote for an hour, and started a load of laundry. I wish I had more time to write, but I have to peek on my clothes in a few minutes.

I struggled to write yesterday. I'm fortunate that those instances do not happen very often. Usually I have no issues with writing and I'm cranking out content and if I have any problems it's with the quality of the content. However this week, I've been lazy. It's not writer's block. I don't believe in such a thing. Simply put... I've been lazy since I'm more excited about March Madness then writing my assignments. The deadlines are not until early April, so it's been hard to motivate. I'll wait until I get back from Las Vegas to finish off the assignments. I'll end up re-writing one and completing the other. For some reason, I write better when I have an impending deadline.

I've been listening to a lot of Ornette Coleman and Ali Farke Toure. Both have been good background music to write to or play poker to. My buddy from Seattle, TC, gave me Ali Farke Toure's Talking Timbuktu CD for my birthday. It took a while before I warmed up to it. Now, it's in heavy rotation. I can't go the day without listening to a least one song.

I stumbled upon a show on the G4network called Ninja Warrior. It's a Japanese imported reality show where contestants try to clear various obstacle courses in a quest to become a ninja warrior. It's has English subtitles. We got sucked in the last two nights. Check your local listings.

Here's an old clip from a previous season...

Click thru to Tao of Pauly to view the video via RSS....

They should scrap the conventional Olympics and add events like Ninja Warrior.

By the way, I'll be live blogging March Madness over at Tao of Poker. Take a peek...

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