Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grand Budapest

I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel yesterday - "GB," as they showed on the logo of the hotel now and then.  It was intriguing, to be sure - a quality all its own.  It was funny and charming.  It was smart.  I appreciated the layers.  A part of me wanted more story, a part of me wanted less.  I keep thinking about it now.  That's how I know it was a special film. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Madness

Life in this fast lane has been so frantic that I almost forgot what happens this month.

Luckily the Internet refuses to let me forget.

It is March Madness, when men and women basketball players in colleges and universities across the country gather to play in winner-takes-all games, week after week - into April.  It isn't called March/April madness though. I wonder why.  Maybe because the actual madness - the upsets - occur in the beginning.

Usually I have organized my days around watching good basketball during this season of madness.  This year, that has not been possible.  I haven't had time to fill out brackets (though I usually just eyeball them anyway), didn't have the luxury of watching any games during the week (except a moment or two of the Gonzaga game - long enough to assure myself that the Zags would win), and only yesterday was able to sit down and watch some games post-bedtime for youngsters (as I babysat nephews).

Luckily again, I was just in time to watch a repeat of Thursday - or a half-repeat of Thursday - when Dayton took down another sure-to-win opponent (Syracuse).  It would have been something else if Harvard - the other Thursday upset - could have won as well.  But Dayton winning was victory enough.

It's odd, how these low-ranked teams become the darlings of the tournament.  I know little to nothing about Dayton.  But I do know that I want Dayton to win its next game, to get to the Elite Eight, to win the whole darn thing - unless Dayton plays Gonzaga, in which case Gonzaga should win.  Perhaps that is one reason that this is called March Madness - not just because of unexpected outcomes, but also because of an irrational fan base that roots for the teams that should not win, that do not have the internal structure to instill confidence in anyone but team mothers that they will win even a single game.  It is as though we, the fans, are overtaken by our own fever of sorts, a fever that encourages us to act irrationally and root for the underdog regardless of the talent of the other team.

I don't think I'm the exception here.

Did you know that Dayton was considered a "bubble" team?  I don't know how true that is, since the team received a 12th seed (and 16th seeds are your true bubble teams).  But the announcers have been giddy in saying this, over and over - Dayton was thought to be a bubble team this year, for the tournament. It has been 30 years since Dayton reached the Sweet Sixteen.  It was time.  And what a game it was.  (For as much as I wanted Dayton to win though, my heart broke for the Syracuse players.  They are just kids.  They were so sad.)

The Zags play today - both men and women.  The men may not win, playing Arizona as they do.  The women were ranked well, so good for them. I will try to watch both games, or part of both games.

I'm sad this is not true March Madness to me, as I must instead pay homage to the Law Gods who deem it appropriate to keep me too busy at this moment to enjoy this perennial pastime.  But who knows? Maybe I will figure out a way to sneak a peek on Thursday, time TBD, to watch the Dayton game.  Did you know they are the Dayton Flyers?  What a great name for a Cinderella team.