Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On Modern Technology, Juvenile Delinquency and the Pool

I believe the first (and only) time I have ever won an NCAA tournament pool came in 1987, when Indiana defeated Syracuse. For this reason, and this reason only, I am forever indebted to Bob Knight (who, on an vaguely related note, is also the subject of the best Sports Illustrated profile I have ever read). And yet I am proud to say that I was the kid who, beginning in the seventh grade, began Xeroxing pool sheets clipped from the newspaper using my father's University account, strong-arming lunch money from classmates and teachers, and marking the sheets with a bright red marker that was most likely stolen from my history teacher's desk.*

So: Thank you, NCAA tournament, for allowing a gawky kid from central Pennsylvania to say that he engaged in felonious activities as teenager.

*As a part-time Luddite, there are many things that concern me about the proliferation of the Internet and the pervasiveness of online technologies. But I will say this: If nothing else, the Internet is unquestionably the Guttenberg Bible of the NCAA tournament pool. Clipping the bracket from the newspaper and sizing it correctly in the Xerox machine was, for my spatially-challenged self, the equivalent of making an origami swan out of waxed paper.

(Photo: Bill Haber/Associated Press)

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