I'm going to avoid making excuses for my absence on this blog of late... mostly because my excuses are all of the things you would expect me to say and none of them are as exciting as "my house was destroyed by the tornado" or "I'm pregnant with triplets" or "God spoke to me through a burning bush." I am a big believer in the idea that excuses should simply be numbered and then referred to by number. (Ex: "No, I can't join your for drinks tonight. Number 37.") Brooke posted a great little example of the uselessness of excuses. Word, Brooke.
As you probably know if you've managed to watch TV recently, we had a big basketball game here last night. The University of Memphis was ranked #1 and The University of Tennessee was ranked #2, and they met last night here to decide who gets bragging rights in our state. Sadly, my alma mater (UofM) lost. Even more sadly, it was their first loss all season. The Tigers went into the game last night with a 26-o record, practically unheard of in men's college basketball.
Now, I am fully aware that just a hot second ago I was griping about the undefeated New England Patriots and how much I hated them-- and then, about how happy I was that they lost the Super Bowl. (All that griping and rejoicing still holds true, by the way.) As a rule, I'm almost always for the "underdog," a Rule of Sports-Fan-Virtue that has very few exceptions. Exception #1 to this rule: when one of "my" teams also happens to be the undefeated team.
Ah well. We lost. The thing is, I'm actually quite relieved. Here's why:
If you know anything about the Big Dance (the NCAA men's basketball tournament, a.k.a. "March Madness," a.k.a. "Bracketmania," a.k.a. the single most exciting three weeks of the sports calendar), you know that anything can happen, and often does. The worst thing imanigable, in my view, would have been for my beloved Tigers to go into that tournament undefeated. There is nothing more vulnerable than a team that thinks it can't lose. (See: New England Patriots, SuperBowl XLII) And the only way a team can think that it might lose is for it to actually lose. Of course, if I had my druthers, I would have preferred that my Tigers lose a game to some unranked team late in the season, in a game that didn't really matter, on a night that they had their guard down. That way, they could have learned the lesson "we can lose" without having to also consider the possibility that there is actually a better team out there. (For the record, I don't actually think UT is a better team.) But, whatever, the point is that I'm glad to have a loss out of the way.
Bring on the Big Dance, I say. The Tigers are ready now.