Your Friendly Neighborhood Sports Columnist – The game behind the game behind the game

Upsets are a beautiful thing. In the world of sports they are, in essence, what keeps the masses watching. Upsets provide hope that on any given night, any given team can pull together, rise up and strike down a squad that has proven itself time and again to be superior. On Sunday afternoon, the University of Maryland took the floor of Cole Field House in College Park, MD in the hopes that it might prove itself a worthy opponent that could knock the Duke Blue Devils from atop the pinnacle of college basketball.

As the final seconds of the second half wound down, the realization of what Duke feared the most set in, for the Terrapins had upset the top-ranked Blue Devils 87-73. Maryland’s ability to overcome an obstacle transcends into regular peoples’ dealings in everyday life and can even be seen at Williams.

Every year, thousands of college students take to the hardwood with the hope of being the best, yet every one of them realizes that there will only be one winner. However, finding out if they’ve got what it takes is the fun part. Countless hours of shooting and bouncing, not to mention the constant dehydration, are what these young, dedicated people go through on a regular basis. However, unlike Duke and Maryland, their game is not basketball, and in most cases never was, and certainly never will be.

These dedicated players have room for only one game in their lives: “quarters.” There has never been a way to solve the debate of who is the best “quarters” player in the world, until now. For the first time, ESPN and Bud Light teamed up and created a way to solve this problem.

They engineered a national “Quarter Bouncers” tournament that involves 64 teams from 64 cities. The 64 finalists will square off in Atlanta during the weekend of the Final Four to settle the national championship and have a chance at $5,000. Believe it or not, Williams College will be represented!

Scott “Stat Boy” Neff ’03 and Teddy May ’03, big cheeses in Gladden House, have spent many a night face-to-face with some of the stiffest competition. Gladiators of the swanky arena such as Lee Oxman ’04 and the Raw Dog have challenged these two prodigies hundreds of times.

Most of the time the result is the same: the two challengers hang their heads in defeat all the while chanting “Brunswick for life!” This rugged and demanding off-season schedule is the reason that these two gents will be flown down to Atlanta, put up in a hotel room and given spending money and tickets to the NCAA Final Four.

Their training and experience allowed them to overcome adversity and win the “Hartford Quarter Bouncers Tourney.” Neff and May breezed through to the semi-finals where they met Team Dave and Dave. Neff and May’s best score was 47, which was only one higher than Team Dave and Dave’s worst score. The Ephmen knew they would have their work cut out for them.

Team Dave and Dave, too, had flown through its bracket, putting up scores as high as 70 along the way. Teddy and Scott were clear underdogs, much like Maryland. No one gave them a chance, especially not the number-one-ranked Dave and Dave. Trailing 38-32 heading into the fourth, it was do or die. The two managed to hit 23 shots in the period to win 55-50. After winning the semi-final game, the dynamic duo eased to victory in the championship by 30 points. Their ability to stare adversity in the face and triumph is exactly what a Williams liberal arts education teaches. This coming from a school that outlawed drinking games – good call!

The fact that this triumph occurred the same weekend that Maryland beat Duke is no coincidence. Both are very good teams that have the ability to go out and beat anybody on any given night. However, they both know that they can lose to anyone at any given time. Maryland’s early-season loss to Arizona provided the incentive necessary to refocus and become a national championship contender. Since that time, Maryland has won 19 of 21 games.

The Neff/May tandem also suffered a disheartening loss, but the loss was overseas in Italy. However, the two quickly blamed the loss on the weight of the lira and bounced back. The time the two spent abroad in Italy during the fall semester only made them stronger, and because of this, they are able to take disappointment and turn it in to something positive.

When March 29 rolls around, both Maryland and Williams will be represented in Atlanta – but things will be different. These two squads will no longer be gunning for the top spot; rather, they will be the ones defending it. They will have been in the position of both underdog as well as favorite and will not take their standing for granted. Therefore, to the dismay of the masses, there will be no upset.