Mar 212009

Matt Spivey comments on President Obama’s NCAA picks. (URL here.)

Throughout his campaign and into his presidency, we learned of our new leader’s affinity for hoops. President Obama revealed his NCAA Tournament bracket yesterday, and to no one’s surprise, he has chosen the most obvious teams to advance in every single round, with three number one seeds predicted to advance to the Final Four. No creativity. No gambles. Not even an often-reliable 12-seed over 5-seed upset pick. His riskiest choices are (11) Virginia Commonwealth over (6) UCLA and (10) Maryland over (7) California. Hardly out on a limb. Hardly very generous to the overmatched and underprivileged that Obama seems to love so much in his domestic policies. Rather, he has chosen to root for the big boys, the evil corporate teams with the deep pockets. Perhaps his basketball mind is as contradictory as his political one.

Matt missed one point about Obama’s two upset picks: He picked two teams close to the seat of government — you know, the place that accounts for the giant sucking sound of power and money leaving the states and going to the federal government at an ever accelerating rate.

It would be interesting to know if he favors government towns generally. Other things being equal, I usually root against teams from government towns. I especially root against the Baltimore Orioles because of the anti-human-rights record of their owner. But other things are seldom equal.

I became somewhat aware of how government towns are different on my 1996 bicycle tour to all the towns in the Midwest League (Class A minor league baseball). One of the teams is located in a state capital. Before the game, a police chief addressed the crowd, going on and on and on about some program — I think it was called “Take Back the Night.” It could be a worthy program, but this was supposed to be a baseball game. Any comments should be short and sweet. In any other town, the crowd would have gotten restless and called for the game to get started. But I was amazed to note that people listened respectfully. And if I’m any judge of dress and demeanor, a lot of these respectfullly-listening fans were government workers. Only in a government town could something like that happen. (Some of the crowd were university professors who were trying hard not to look and dress like university professors. But they listened respectfully, too.)