March 29th, 2011
Dear Houston: Feeling Final Four Squared
VCU? Butler? Seriously?! I waited all year for THIS Final Four?
Remember when you and your high school classmates put that weird kid that smelled like cheese on the prom king ballot, just for fun? Maybe there was some magic in that bowl haircut or those Velcro shoes. Whatever it was, he somehow squeaked in as a finalist with the chance to get hacked down and humiliated by a guy named Tucker who drove a Camarro and didn’t know how to pluralize words. It’s an American rite of passage, and I couldn’t be happier to host the probable Bulldog beat-down or Commonwealth catastrophe looming on the horizon. If one of the undermutts pulls the upset and takes home the national title, that’s even more reason to celebrate – one small step for mid-major basketball programs, one giant leap for the kid with headgear who wears swim trunks in the locker-room shower.
The allure of a fairy tale ending aside, I’m stoked about the Final Four for other reasons as well. With tickets topping out at over $2,000 despite the lack of 1-seeds in the tourney, a lot of the “poor folk” will be forced into my bars and restaurants to cheer and jeer for their team du jour. There may not be any teams from the Lone Star State vying for the crown, but I’ll take the uptick in service industry action however it comes. Any bar or restaurant worth its salt will have cheap brews flowing, and I’ve even heard that Mark’s on Westheimer will be dabbling in the art of the chicken wing – just to get into the spirit.
Furthermore, no matter the teams, the opportunity to host the Final Four just adds to my repertoire as being the host with the most. The Super Bowl in ’04, the NBA All-Star Game in ’06, whatever that soccer thing was in ’10 (I kid because I care), and now this. I must be doing something right. Now if we could just get the damn Olympic Committee to fall in line, I’d be the Whoopi Goldberg of host cities.
So to sum things up, Justin, just because the tourney is minus the Aggies, Longhorns and Bears (Oh my!), doesn’t mean we should hang our heads. At the end of the day, we’ll have a team that’s clawed its way from the bottom of the tournament barrel clashing with the kid in a letterman jacket that copied your homework and kissed your girlfriend. We’ve also got a great excuse to get excessively drunk and eat fried pickles on a Monday. If you need anything else beyond that to make things interesting, just cash in the 401(k) and let it all ride on VCU. They’ll make a fan of you yet.
And boom goes the dynamite,