March Madness: Pleasures of the Crowd

It’s published. The Modern Spectator serves up my piece on the virtues of rioting during March Madness. It’s a great journal, have a peek:

It’s dark and loud, with a hot wet tang of beer and crowd in my nostrils. A couple to my right screams. To my left a hefty elbow pins the waitress against the bar. The clock ticks, the roar goes up… and as the first dunk slams home, I roar too, along with a hundred perfect strangers in a town that could care less.

During these days of late March Madness, New Yorkers are largely oblivious to the crucial ascent of my team: UCLA. And yet last week, a long way from home, I encountered Bruins aplenty in the back room of an East Village pub called Professor Thom’s. Stumbling onto the Alumni Association was dumb luck, but as I talked my way past the fleshy wall of bouncers, I felt the strange thrill of finding people as fiercely excited as I was about our team’s chances to win another championship. For an hour, I managed to forget I wasn’t actually invited, until a woman in powder-blue thigh-highs distributed UCLA pins and pennants. She could barely squeeze past the broad-shouldered consultants and nascent bankers. The shifting mass of bodies jostled for a better view of the screen. I couldn’t see so much as feel Darren Collison’s three-point shot, rolling through and between each of us. We held our breath. Then we let out a moan that became a growl and then finally, ecstatic, the roar.


2 thoughts on “March Madness: Pleasures of the Crowd

  1. I’ll never forget one day in the dorms when you told me and Phung that you had season tickets but you didn’t really want them. We thought you were CRAAAAAAZY. 🙂

    It was a relief when you came around.


  2. What a dope I was! Thankfully I had women of sense to shake me out of it.

    Saturday’s rematch can’t come soon enough…

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