Monday, April 6, 2009

Underdogs In Every Way

Now that your March Madness bracket has been burned to the ground and the power of Big East basketball has disappeared in a puff of smoke, it's time to crown a new college basketball champion tonight.

You have no doubt heard that the Final Four is being held in Detroit this year and I'm
sure you've also seen the multiple stories about how this Final Four can bring just one night of reprieve to the hard luck city of Detroit where citizens are looking for any sort of aegis from the daily grind. And look, a team from Michigan is playing for the championship!

Yes, the Spartans are an underdog to pre-season favorite North Carolina. No, Michigan State doesn't have the athletes to hang with the Tar Heels if the two teams play a wide open game, so the Spartans have to be careful with every possession so that the game doesn't get out of hand quickly. Yes, Ford Field will be filled with Michigan State fans rooting for their little David to stop the championship run of a basketball Goliath.

I usually get a tired head from reporters finding a story line before a championship game and beating it into the ground from every angle conceivable thereby making it a bigger deal than it actually is.

This i
s not one of those cases.

Living in Detroit sucks on a good day, but now it's even worse than you think. The more I read, the more I wish a mercy rule could be given to the city (and that's saying a lot considering the number of obnoxious Red Wings fans I've had the misfortune of being around.)

We all know Detroit has a high unemployment rate. But it's worse than high. The national rate has hit an incredibly high 8.5%. That's not even half of Detroit's unemployment rate which sits at a mind boggling 22% as of March. (Insert pun about March Madness in Detroit.) That's high enough to help Michigan rank 51st out of 50 states in unemployment which includes District of Columbia. That's like a Spinal Tap ranking system.

Want to go to the store and buy some groceries? Too bad. The grocery stores have closed in Detroit. Y
ou'll have to go to the Kwik-E-Mart and get overpriced milk that expires in three days.

So why not just sell the house and get out, right? That's not much of a choice either. Even if you could find a buyer, the median price for a house in Detroit is around $7000. You might pay more for a used car.

Throw in the snow, pollution, violence, shoddy civic leadership, and utter collapse of the economic backbone, and you have a metropolitan disaster area.

Even the sports teams don't help. The Pistons are collapsing, the Tigers have been a coloss
al disappointment after the World Series appearance a few years ago. Sure, the Red Wings brought home a title last year, but that was offset by the record setting joke that is the Detroit Lions.

I'm not sure how reporters think a Michigan State title will somehow make everyone happy in their beat down of a Detroit life, but if you're desperate for anything to make you happy, I guess it'll have to do.

Go Tar Heels.

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