For a basketball guy the first two days of the NCAA Men's Division I Championship Tournament (March Madness) makes the rest of a mostly dreary college season worthwhile. Set aside the Play-In games, which might be called "debates" if likened to the American political process and you get a big slice of Hoop's Heaven.
That is, for the first two days.
One and Done, Two and Through, Too Many Developmental Leagues here and abroad, and you get a watered down version of what used to be in college basketball. The result is sad. A few Mormon seniors back from two year missions against a bunch of fresh faced, multi-talented kids in the early stages of prolonged adolescence, standing where Patrick Ewing and David Thompson once dribbled.
For the first two days of the Tournament, you get the excitement of democratization and collegiality. The Richmond Spiders stand co-equal with the Duke Blue Devils. Towson State takes on Kansas, dreaming of the Sweet Sixteen. Murray State, Northeastern Widget University from Bratwhiler, Minnesota and all the rest take the stage for forty-eight hours of splash and dash, in your face dunks, some fundamental ball and an upset or two.
Then, we are back to the mid-level athlete at the big schools, sanity returns, calm prevails and we start to need an umpire to yell, "Play Ball." Well, we need that, a sunny day and a hot dog.
We get bored.
We are past the first two days in the presidential primary season. Where once ten or twelve men and women stood, and others lurked, we have four white men sitting at a table in Arizona, all trying to decide who is the most conservative. Dark suits, red ties, cordial smiles, trying to look the right combination of hopeful, leaderly and inevitable.
These four fellows are inevitable like the melting of the glaciers. Let it get hot enough and these guys start to drip water.
We have had our two days of fun. Soon we will have someone who is a conservative's conservative or we will have someone the conservatives can hold their nose and vote for because they hate President Obama so much. He will be a white fellow, in a dark suit, red tie, happy family, nice smile. The mid-level shooters are about to take over and happy mediocrity will reign.
What could mke it better? If one of the candidates starts to run a Post-Modern campaign with issues that matter, he might yet energize America enough to get out 50% of registered voters. What would that look like?
He would be arguing band-width, not bail-outs. We are in an information age, digitalized to the point where we are about to run out of numbers and have to start importing them from China. China is putting huge money in band-width and tech in general. Why? It is just really, really important to get the news first and keep it to yourself the longest.
He would be arguing for rare earth metal retrieval, the elements at the bottom of the periodic table. China has most of the world's current stream of magnets for instance and they are exporting less of them. No big deal, it is just your smart phone and laptop will not work without them. You will have a harder time playing Angry Birds.
He would be talking about affordable education of a higher variety. More of our kids need to go to college but college is more and more expensive. More and more expensive. More and more expensive.
He would accept the fate of centralized government rather than decry it. He is, after all, running for the title "Head of Centralized Government." Does anyone believe any of these fellows wants to spend millions to dethrone himself? Really?
I have a few other issues but they must just be mine. Health care needs to be reformed and voluntary measures, gasp, do not seem to be doing it. Campaign finance reform is necessary, so help me Super-PACs, my hand is raised to you. Finance reform in general, to reward production, not market manipulation, is a great idea, but, apparently, a non-starter so far.
There is a lot to do. I miss the first two days of the Campaign.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.