From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Causal Contingency I—NCAA Upset

Imagine the NCAA Basketball version of the worst-day-of-the-worst-day in "Lunar World." 
[a] Bleak [RF]
At the University of Virginia (before tonight), that would have been December 23, 1982. I'm old enough to say that, when I looked at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune early on the morning of Christmas Eve (time difference: they were in Hawaii), I was shocked to learn that tiny, tiny Chaminade University had upset the big, powerful Ralph Sampson-led Virginia behemoth 77-72. 

[b] Lonely RF

Even in a meaningless holiday basketball tournament in the middle of I will never forget that day (and I love basketball).

I (and everyone else who loves basketball) will remember today, too (and probably even more than the Chaminade upset that almost none of us saw in-person or on television). 

Before tonight, #1 seeds had been 135-0 since the tournament went to its current six-round form in 1985. #2 seeds had lost a handful of times. # 3 seeds had lost a few more of them. Many #4-8 seeds had lost (a whole bunch more). 

But, over thirty-three-plus years, NO #1 seed had ever lost a first-round game. 

Until tonight. 

Virginia lost. They were not only a"Number-One" seed. They were the number-one-seeded number-one seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. this year. 
[c] Competition RF

This is the stuff of mythology (see below).

UVA will never shake off what has happened (as minor as it really is in the grand scheme of things in our global world).

And yet, its not even that "big a deal" in the biggest scheme of things. It's not even close to the biggest thing in Charlotesville in the last twelve months. Not even remotely close.

Um, just think about what has happened there this year. 

Yes, that's what I mean by perspective.

And yet the basketball mythology won't go away, either, at least if people focus 
[d] Upset RF

As the historian Paul Cohen has written, history resides in "three keys": as lived experience (a crazy upset), as history (as reporting of what happened that we will read in the future (UMBC 74 UVA 54) and, most importantly, as mythology (a #16 seed defeats a #1). 

Mythology. Yup.

I still can't believe that I got to see it live (with several tens of millions of others). I wasn't sure if I would ever see #16 defeats #1 (and especially by twenty which the #1 never had a chance). 


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