Madness Of the March variety.

By Luke Robinson

March has always held a special place in my heart. It’s the month where we kick winter like Reggie Roby and welcome spring like a free beer.

Despite the proverbial warning, I don’t “beware the Ides of March.” I kind of like the “Ides.” (Writer’s note: I am not 100 percent sure what an “Ide” is, so I am not really sure if I like “Ides” or not, but I dang sure ain’t skeered of them “Ide.”)

My affinity for March has always centered around basketball. It is, after all, the 30-day period where we are all susceptible to March Madness.

As a sidebar, March Madness is easily my favorite calendar-related illness. It’s much more manageable than February Fever, December Dementia or the dreaded September Syphilis. 

Anyhoo, if you have never been to the NCAA’s Final Four I highly recommend it. It truly is a special weekend in our sports-centric country.

My first trip to a Final Four was in Minneapolis back in 1992. At the time I was a freshman at Alabama and my high school friend’s parents were living there, so we decided to make the trip.

Besides, Minneapolis is lovely that time of year. And by “lovely” I mean “colder than an ex-wife’s gazpacho.”

That year, the Final Four consisted of Michigan (with the heralded Fab Five), Cincinnati, Duke and Indiana. Four historical powers playing for a national title which created high demand for tickets.

So, there my friend and I were in the semi-frozen tundra outside the Metrodome. I was armed with a thin jacket and about $400 total for the duration of the trip. I hadn’t shopped for tickets to the Final Four on the street before and had no idea what they would be.

My friend and I asked each sketchy scalper what they wanted for their seats. All wanted more than we had. Disappointed and freezing, we decided it wasn’t meant to be. He and I began sullenly walking towards the sports bars to catch the action on TV.

Then, out of nowhere, an odd, goblin-like fellow appeared right in front of us. He was a strange mix of nerd and super nerd with just a hint of sexual-predator factor. I would be willing to bet that, right now, he is at a Harry Potter film festival (and probably easily the oldest guy there).

Despite his sketchy looks, he came with an interesting question: “Are you guys *snort* looking for tickets?” (He didn’t really snort, but it seemed like something a goblin would do.)

I replied with a bit of a smart aleck-y tone, “Yeah man… That’s why I am holding up two fingers. How much?”

He said, “Well… I have two…They aren’t good, but… ”

I cut him off and asked, “Man… Just tell me how much…???!!!”

He looked at his seats and back at me twice. He then meekly said, “They are really bad seats, but… But. If you will just give me the face value I am fine with that.”

The man then showed me the tickets to verify face value.

The ticket read: “$12.50.”

My roommate yelled out, “Twelve fifty each!?!?”

Before my buddy could blow the deal, I threw a wadded twenty and ten spot in the guy’s direction, swiped the tickets from his hands while running towards the stadium and yelled, “Keep the change!”

Like something from a Grimm Fairytale, us two boyish princes outwitted the devious goblin and escaped obvious peril.

The seats were God-awful as promised. We were so far above the action we weren’t even totally sure we were watching basketball. It looked more like a scantily clad ant orgy. But as soon as Michigan defeated Cincy in game one and the Bearcats fans dispersed, we were able to sneak wayyyy up towards the midcourt stripe and enjoy the second game.

So let this be a lesson to you all: Forget Stubhub or Ticketmaster; just talk to your neighborhood goblin about scalped tickets from now on. 

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