Watched some more good little-school tournament action tonight. The nightcap game was a one-point thriller that finished only when a last-second layup rimmed in and out while the buzzer sounded. No millionaires, no thugs given a pass because they can shoot a ball, no irresponsible dorks with vapor trails of illegitimate children strung through cities around the country. Just the game.
Ooh, and no Dick Vitale, either. Baby.
Of course, who knows how long it will get to stay that way. One team tonight in the Class B games had a fan brigade that's been watching the NCAA's greatest hits on ESPN -- they had all the moves down. The silly synchronized jumping up and down, the rude trash talk directed at the other team, the inability to accept that sometimes the players on their team fouled and the players on the other team didn't -- check, check and check. I wonder sometimes: If someone made a rule at one of these games that you could only make noise for your team, would these people have anything to say? Would they know what to do?
I used to have this discussion at the college I once worked at. A large segment of the fans who showed up did so playing ESPN Dress-Up, with the painted faces and slogans and whatnot (often in need of a proofreader, too). And they did the usual classy stuff -- once they mocked a referee who had only one arm about his condition. Their faculty advisor never really wanted to crack down on them, saying that the school wanted students at the games, and it was hard to lure them in if we required something like civilized behavior out of them (those are my words, of course). It was funny -- if any of these students had come flat out and said, "Well, we won't come to the games unless we're allowed to act like jerks," no one would have agreed. But when they just didn't show up unless they were allowed to act like jerks, we bowed the knee forthwith.
Who says passive-aggressive doesn't get the job done?