Of course March Madness is great. "The best spectacle in sport." "Three weeks without equal." Blah blah blah. Not content to leave well enough alone, we want to know if it can be better. We're in search of a more perfect tournament. So, we asked a few friends of the magazine if they had any ideas for improving the NCAAs. Here's what Will Blythe, author of To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry, thinks we should do.
In the spirit of Hugo Chavez, here is my suggestion for improving March Madness--nationalize the office pool. Let's enjoy a month-long federal holiday of legalized gambling. Economists estimate that Americans spend billions upon billions of dollars on office pools. Why not use some of the proceeds from that enormous (and technically illegal) pool to give scholarships to poor students who can't dunk so that they might afford a college education?
Brackets will be made available on Monday morning after Selection Sunday at gas stations, convenience stores, and cigar shops, of course. But they will also be provided through schools, court houses, and other public institutions. Scientists at NASA will calculate the odds for teams to advance to the Final Four. The CIA will repair its image for politicization and poor intelligence gathering by providing for free real-time appraisals of all 64 teams in the NCAA tournament field, based on human intel, satellite surveillance, and court-sanctioned wiretaps.
So many televised occasions have become compulsory to our identity as Americans these days. There's the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, Bret Michael's Rock of Love. And, of course, the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Everybody tunes in because everybody tunes in, leaving only sour dissenters and those without digital cable boxes outside of the national conversation. Screw them. Let's everybody else make money and help the poor receive an education by watching more TV and filling out our federally-sponsored ballots for the candidates we really care about--the sixty-four basketball teams of March Madness.