"What movie would you like to watch tonight?"
"I don't know. What movie would you like to watch tonight?”
"I don't know either."
It is a frequent conversation that my wife, Nancy, and I have of an evening after supper. Generally such a discussion is followed by a search of the movies which are available, which can be a bit exasperating if by the time we finally find a movie we can both agree we would like to watch we no longer have the roughly two hours to invest in watching a movie before it is time to go to bed.
Last Friday night, after engaging in the what-would-you-like-to-watch-tonight dialogue for a few minutes, I proposed a movie that had turned up fairly early in the search process. Nancy agreed to watching my recommendation of the sports, feel-good movie "Hoosiers." The film features Gene Hackman as the high school basketball coach in a small Indiana community that he leads to the state title against a much larger school.
It seemed like an appropriate selection considering that the NCAA's March Madness was in full swing that night as Sweet 16 teams were playing for the right to advance to the Elite Eight.
To be honest the collegiate men's basketball tournament, despite this year's unpredictability, simply did not grab my attention in the early going since neither Missouri, Missouri State or St. Louis University were selected to be participants in the tourney.
As the tournament progressed, however, I found myself pulling for regional entrants such as Iowa State and Arkansas. I could not cheer for every Midwestern team that played deep into the tournament bracket. I just lacked the stomach to root for the Kansas Jayhawks, which earned a berth in the Final Four with their come-from-behind victory on Sunday afternoon over the University of Miami Hurricanes.
While I did not pull for the Jayhawks, I had no trouble extending favorable feelings toward "birds" of a different feather, the Fighting Peacocks of St. Peter's, the small New Jersey school which was the first 15th seed to make it to the Elite Eight. Unfortunately, St. Peter's tournament stay ended on Sunday when it lost to the University of North Carolina.
I cannot begin to imagine how much money has been wagered on the outcome of games during the course of the tournament. None of the cash that has been bet and lost has come from my pockets. I recognize that I do not know enough about college basketball to be predicting the outcome of games involving teams, many of which I have never heard of before. I understand that I might as well put what I intended to bet into a nice little pile, douse it with lighter fluid and strike a match.
However, with as balanced as this year's tournament field was, even basketball “experts” likely found that wagering on the outcome of games was more often than not a sure way to lose money.