I only missed one game Thursday in my NCAA brackets. But early round losses hurt only if you have your team advancing deep into the tournament. Wisconsin scared me; the Badgers were up two at the half and I have them going to the Final Four. I’ll never pick a Final Four without at least one underdog. Justice ultimately prevailed and my newly beloved Badgers pulled away.
Fans in Washington talked about the Duke game into the night. At the Green Turtle, a sports bar that adjoins Verizon Center, patrons were united in their praise for Belmont, the team the Blue Devils had beaten by a point an hour earlier.
Upsets unite. Adults with little in common come together when the team that is not supposed to win beats the favorite. In the Green Turtle they come together loudly. As loud as they were, I almost didn’t find the place. A guy who grew up in Washington told me about it and all I could remember was the color.
I asked a security guard where the Green Parrott was and he said he had never heard of it. I know it has Green in it, I said. And it’s an animal.
“Green Turtle!” a woman said.
“Thanks,” I said.
I heard her say to the guard, “Green animal?” She was making fun of me. She was entitled.
About those favorites: The reason they are favored is because they win. I thought Duke was uncharacteristically sloppy against Belmont, but Duke did enough to advance to Saturday’s game against West Virginia.
Meanwhile back in the hotel gym a TV reporter from Waco, Tex., was practicing yoga. He was wearing a Bluetooth headset was engaging in a cell phone conversation. The conversation filled the gym.
“My thighs are burning,” he said into the phone. Later he invoked beef broccoli and took the person on the other end of the phone, if the person exists, through his workout.
It was like listening to a golfer.
It was like OUR TOP STORY on Saturday Night Live or Radio Free Europe. The rest of us looked at each other, partly amused and mostly offended. Now, I understand that cell phones occasionally have to be used in the gym. The phones are what connect us to our employers, among others.
So do what my buddy Mike does. Find a quiet place to talk. Go to the hallway or go outside or, this case, go to Waco.
As the conversation stretched into the 15 minute mark, we took turns staring at him and, when he hung up, he apologized to the guy next to him, saying he had not talked to the woman on the other end of the phone for two weeks.
“But how can you practice yoga when you’re on a cell phone?” I asked.
He apologized, said he turned off the phone and he wouldn’t do it again.
It’s cool when people that don’t get it suddenly get it.
It’s also rare.