Well that was quite a weekend. On many, many fronts.
Before I get to the Stormy Daniels interview, and my agonizing three hours watching Duke come oh-so-close to another Final Four appearance before losing, I have to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on Washington, D.C., and in cities (and countries) all across the world on Saturday.
(My mother was one of those people, and I probably would’ve been too if not for months-ago purchased tickets to “Paw Patrol Live!” for me and the 3-year-old. Hey, you don’t mess around when Chase is on the case.)
It was called the March for Our Lives, but really, it was a March for the Future. For new leaders, for victims of so many school shootings in the past finally finding their voice, for the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who have galvanized so many of us.
It was truly a stunning event, and I think I agree with Esquire writer Andrew Cohen when he says “there’s no turning back now, our national debate about guns is over. The only question is how far and how fast change will go.”
I have lots of thoughts about the march and what it might accomplish, but it’s late and I’ve got lots to say about March Madness and neither one of us has time to read a 3,000 word post.
So let me just say these four things:
1.Signs like the one above just devastate me. That children like those the age of the one’s murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, could be thinking about these things and having to deal with them is just… an incredible failing as a society. For a great gallery of photos from Marches across the globe, click here.
2. The speeches were fantastic; I highly recommend watching Emma Gonzalez’s moving tribute to her classmates who died, stay with it for all six minutes. But this speech, by 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, of Virginia, just knocked my socks off. The poise, the intelligence, the ability to be so forceful at her age… just amazing.
3. The absolute most important thing to come out of Saturday’s marches in the U.S.? Thousands of new voters. All of the speeches and all of the outrage does no good if it doesn’t lead to people showing up on the first Tuesday of November to vote, this year and every year. Too many times enthusiasm has petered out, I pray it doesn’t happen this time. Because this is a tsunami of political change just waiting to happen, if the momentum is kept up until Election Day.
4. The New England Patriots lending their team plane to transport the Parkland community families to fly to Washington, D.C. was an incredibly classy gesture. And you people know how hard it is for me to say anything nice about the Patriots. But this was a fantastic good deed.
**And now, to the NCAA Tournament. Another tremendous weekend of games. I gotta start with my Duke team, first. What a brutal loss Sunday night’s OT defeat to Kansas was.
Not just because of the shot by Grayson Allen, above, that rolled around the rim TWICE before bouncing out, a shot that would’ve won the game for Duke in the final seconds of regulation.(I’m going to be seeing that one in my head for weeks.)
But because it was an excruciating performance. The Blue Devils didn’t get the ball to their star, and the best player in America, Marvin Bagley III, nearly enough. Duke couldn’t hit a 3-pointer to save its life, saw Wendell Carter Jr. get into terrible foul trouble (and foul out on a hideous call by the refs.)
Even still, Duke was up 3, with 1 minute to go in regulation, and couldn’t close. All credit to Kansas and Malik Newman, especially. It was a sensational battle, and the Jayhawks deserved to win.
Duke fans are spoiled, 100 percent. But to be that close to a Final Four and not get there… ooof.
— Then there’s the amazing story of Loyola-Chicago, winning yet another game Saturday and sending 98-year-old nun Sister Jean Schmidt into an even greater stratosphere of celebrity. This Ramblers team, an 11 seed, winning like it has and getting to a Final Four, is just such a beautiful story.
— I thought the line of the weekend was from Yahoo! sports columnist Pat Forde: “Two women have dominated the headlines this weekend: Sister Jean and Stormy Daniels. They don’t have a lot in common.”
— I got zero Final Four teams right in my bracket. Somehow, 550 people out of 17.3 million on the ESPN bracket challenge picked all four Final Four teams. I think we’ll get two excellent games next Saturday, but this is Villanova’s title to lose right now. I think they are certainly the best team left.
But are YOU gonna bet against a 98-year-old nun?
**And finally, I guess I should say something about the Stormy Daniels “60 Minutes” interview, and how I completely believe she’s telling the truth, and how I’ll never look at a Forbes magazine in my doctor’s office the same way again, and how I can’t wait to see how all the evangelicals who talk about what a great moral, Christian man Trump is twist themselves into knots defending this man, and how all the outraged folks who are still pissed about Bill Clinton and Monica and Gennifer Flowers feel about President Orange Man having oh so many extramarital affairs.
But mainly, I look at that interview and see a star-struck woman who had her life threatened because she was in awe of the celebrity and power of Donald Trump and blames herself for all that happened because she agreed to go up to his hotel room one day.
And that makes me sad, and nauseous.
But instead of dwelling on that interview, I want to show you something amazing. In the Brazilian basketball league, playing for a team called Cearense, a man named Paulinho Boracini went to the free throw line with his team down three points, in the final seconds. He made the first foul shot. And then he did this (above), which I’ve never, ever seen before in four decades of basketball watching:
I mean…. that’s incredible. He could try that 1,000 times and not do it again. The 3-pointer is crazy enough, but how about the little bank of the glass, too?