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From March Madness to March Sadness

Q: When exactly did I click “Unfollow” on college

A: Don’t ask me. If anyone knows that I don’t have a
clue – it’s you.

That exchange represents an earnest answer to a genuine
question that I’ve asked myself repeatedly. Yes, a sort
of struggle within.

Heck, I’ve even refused to take that answer from myself
and gone Paulie Polygraph with the bright white light. So
far, as the test results will verify, I’ve provided no
viable or credible answer. (Note: that’s me talking to
myself, both in first person and third person. Please
kids, don’t try this at home.)

And, just like I can’t be certain as to when I stopped
paying close attention, I’m not sure why that is either.
All I know is that I definitely don’t feel like I’m
missing anything. Not anymore. Of that much, I’m

Used to be, you couldn’t get me off the couch during March
Madness. Paulie Potato. Whereas this year, I’ve spent
more time shopping for a couch with the wife. #True.

And when that couch does arrive (8-10 weeks for
shipping?!), I’ll probably sit down to watch just the
highlights anyway. For some reason, I now follow college
hoops like World Cup soccer. I mean, to paraphrase
another question that I ask myself every four years :
What does a 2-3 hour telecast offer that I can’t get in a
45-second highlight reel? #ROI-Return on Investment.

For Paulie Roundball, the interest in college ball has
been subject to slow erosion. And, right now, I feel
like the Grand Canyon.

Maybe it’s because when I watch, I don’t see just the game
itself. Simply put, it’s not enough to keep my interest

Instead, I see what used to be. Or what could be. Or,
maybe, what should be. And, alas, all those storylines
are infinitely more intriguing than what is currently
trending, save perhaps the ever-rare Kentucky-Louisville
rivalry reaching a Final Four.

Maybe it’s the caliber of play – or lack thereof. Maybe
it’s the one and done element. If players are any good,
they’re gone. Just when you get to know the superstars,
March Madness ends and so do their college careers.

Maybe it’s because when I watch games, I can’t stop myself
from seeing the discrepancy and disparity. Head coaches
earning $4M per year to coach players who might receive
the equivalent value of $40K per scholarship.

Or maybe it’s multiple choice – all of the above. Thereby
creating the erosion from the elements.

Either way, I used to feel guilty about my waning
interest. (“Hi, my name is Paulie Roundball and I’m no
longer addicted to college hoops.”) But, like anything,
there’s comfort in numbers. And the numbers don’t lie
when it comes to the local TV ratings. For example, when
you see that the Nationwide NASCAR race on ESPN gets a
better rating than the Phoenix Regional Final (Florida vs
Louisville) on network TV (1.8 to 1.7 rating), uh, that’s
not exactly “Awesome” with a capital A.

In fact, it’s all lower-case these days. Sorry to be
Paulie Party Pooper, but if the wife wants to go shopping
for a coffee table this weekend…