March 17, 2010
I’m a little bit Irish, and not just today. I’ve been told that my last name is of Irish decent. Some say it was originally Stormer, which sounds all thundery and tough. Until, that is, you find out that “Stormers” were the dimwits they sent to storm English castles. Hot oil burns and arrow wounds can’t keep my people from reproducing, though, and for that I can be proud. As it happens, the internet thinks my name is actually English, but the internet is a known liar, and I prefer to live under the assumption that none of my ancestors came up with the idea for Marmite.
Yes, today is the holiday beloved by all fair-weather O’Flanagans: St. Patrick’s Day. It’s also the eve of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. So in honor of both, I am going to use my Irish intuition and knowlege of Celtic history to pick my Final Four. Feel free to take notes.
I was tempted to go with Kansas, mostly because Don Johnson is an alumnus, and as every educated Irishman knows, Stephen Dedalus was not the name James Joyce first chose when he first thought up a protagonist for Portrait Of An Artist As a Young Man. It was Sonny Crockett. Joyce shelved the name Sonny, however, when he thought it might work better in a TV pilot he was writing. The name of that pilot? Nash Bridges. Sure, Kansas would be a solid pick, if Georgetown didn’t have Ryan Dougherty on the roster. He’s only shooting 0-3 for the year, but he’s a good lad. Georgetown it is.
Philip Michael Thomas had his college application rejected by both Syracuse and Kansas State, so I can count both those schools out (personal reasons). Cheech Marin holds honorary doctorates from both BYU and Vermont. So scratch those too (ask Cheech, he’ll explain). Which leaves Murray State. Tucked in the hills of County Clare, there’s a delightful pub called Silversteins. The borscht is to die for and on Tuesdays from 7-9 they have live klezmer music. The owner is a guy named Murray and rumor has it, if you blow out the candelabra he lights every year at Christmas time, he will punch you square in the nose. You’ve got to love that indomitable Irish spirit. A vote for Murray State.
The East is tough this year. It is every year. But I go with my gut every time. Cleveland Cavaliers (I’m sorry, Beantown, but Garnett is struggling and LeBron is due).
Notre Dame would seem the easy choice here, but did you know that the original Notre Dame is in France? And it has gargoyles? I’m betting they don’t tell you that until freshman orientation. I can’t support such deception, so they’re booted. I assume most people think that Duke likes Irish fellows too, but the fact is, they don’t. They prefer the Welsh. Half their team graduated from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Prep, for crying out loud. Which means I’m going to have to go with St. Mary’s. If you believe some other college could have pulled off the virgin birth of our lord and savior, feel free to ignore my advice. For me, it’s St. Mary’s.
SO WHO WINS IT ALL?
This may seem like a surprise, since I don’t even have them in the Final Four, but I’m picking Kentucky to win it all. John Calipari will bribe and cheat his way to the championship without even winning a game. And if the referees are Irish, chances are they’ll be too drunk, bloated on cabbage and potatoes and deaf from a night of bagpiping to even notice. Oh, and they’ll probably blow up London Bridge or something. In the name of Bono. Kentucky.