by | Mar 19, 1993 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

TUCSON, Ariz. — “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been 12 months since my last confession.”

“Go on, son.”

“I need help. My marriage is in trouble. My family is in danger. My job is on the line. And it’s all because of basketball.”


“Yes. College basketball. The NCAA tournament. This cursed March Madness. Every year it comes around, and every year I get hooked. I can’t stop watching. I’m a man out of control.”

“Tell me your troubles, son.”

“Well, it starts with something small. Like Texas Tech against St. John’s. I tell myself, ‘I’ll just watch the second half, and then I’ll take the kids to the movies.’ But before the game is over, they start talking about the next game. And I want to watch a little of that. Then the next game. And then the next.

“Soon it’s after midnight, and I still haven’t moved, I’m lying in front of the TV, with my 12th bag of Doritos, watching Temple play Montana.”



“Temple played Missouri.”

“Oh . . . well, anyhow, Father. It’s ruining my life. My wife says she’s leaving me. She started packing last night. I said, ‘Honey, don’t go. I’ll be there in just a . . . WOW, WHAT A SHOT!’ “

“What happened?”

“She drove away.”

“I mean the shot.”

“Oh. Charlie Ward, from Florida State, made this long jumper to help beat, who was it, I think–“


“Goodness, Father, you’re so knowledgeable.”

“Go on, son.” Job takes a dive in office pool

“It’s not just my wife. My job is in danger, too.”

“How’s that?”

“I volunteered to run the office pool for the tournament. So I spent all day Monday Xeroxing brackets. All day Tuesday distributing forms. And all day Wednesday collecting money. On Thursday, I was so frazzled that when someone came to my desk and asked what I was doing, I said, ‘TAKE A NUMBER, PAL, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!’ “

“That’s not a sin.”

“It was my boss.”


“He sent me home, told me not to come back until I got my mind on my work. I was so depressed, I turned on CBS. Next thing I know, I’m rooting for Ball State to upset Kansas. It was terrible.”

“Why? Kansas won.”

“I meant my job. Father, are you listening?”

“Of course, son.”

“What am I going to do? My brain is swimming with March Madness. I keep humming songs about New Orleans. I try to sleep by counting Wolverines. When someone says, ‘How do you think the Tigers will do this year?’ I say, ‘Which ones, LSU, Memphis State or Missouri?’ “

“Or Tennessee State.”


“The Tennessee State Tigers. No. 15 seed in the Southeast.”



“Are you all right?”

“Of course, son. Go on.” The ultimate nightmare

“I’m losing control. I call Sports Phone every 10 minutes. I go to my car to hear radio games. My neighbors complained my ESPN “SportsCenter” was too loud, so I went to a sports bar that had 50 screens with highlights. I went nuts! I ran from one screen to the other, taking notes like a madman!

“Then I got in this really stupid argument.”

“Over what?”

“Over who’s a better player, Anfernee Hardaway of Memphis State or Jamal Mashburn of Kentucky. I said Hardaway. He said Mashburn. I got really mad. I even used a few curse words.”

“That was foolish.”

“I know.”

“Mashburn is a much better rebounder.”

“Huh? . . . Hey, what’s going on here?”


“You’re no priest, you’re Dick Vitale!”


“God, you’re everywhere.”

“Don’t call me God. Dick is fine.”

“Isn’t this the confession booth?”

“No, it’s the broadcast booth.”

“Oh . . . GOD!”

“Call me Dick. Please.”

“I gotta get home! I’m going INSANE!”

“Well, go ahead, son. But before you go, remember. Those Delaware Blue Hens, coming from nowhere against Louisville, Denny Crum could be in trouble! Could be UPSET CITY, BABEEEEE!”

“Dick! DICK!”


“What about my problems? My wife? My job? Don’t you have any advice for that?”



“Say five ‘Hail to the Victors’ and call me in the morning.”


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