Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 NOTY: Third-Place Game

Not without reason has the consolation game gone the way of the short short and the set shot and the flannel uni and the single-bar facemask. After failing to win the big prize, the competitors have had enough. They'd just as soon pack up their things and get back to their daily lives. Another game? You've got to be kidding. Fans are just playing along, too. This promises to be one of the most desultory contests we've ever witnessed yet we will watch out of warped loyalty to you whom we don't know personally! The Olympics manage to get around this problem, sort of, by handing out dun-colored medals. But, believe us, the players aren't fooled. We saw the U.S. men "win" the bronze at the Athens Games in 2004. Tim Duncan would have rather been watching rhythmic gymnastics. Hell, he would have rather been competing in rhythmic gymnastics.

And yet we love the third-place game the way we love the short short and the flannel uni and the single-bar facemask -- especially the single-bar facemask: for its throwbackness, to a time when we cared (maybe) a little bit more about the spirit of competition and the glory of the fight (or at least to a time when marketeers hadn't figured out that no one gave a shit). Not to date ourselves or anything, but our favorite third-place game was the 1979 NCAA consolation between Penn and DePaul. Penn had just, um, lost to Michigan State by a score of 101-67. It wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Quakers trailed 31-6 and 50-17. The defeat was, obviously, utterly humiliating, even if Magic Johnson was the primary perpetrator. But Penn was required to return to play DePaul for no absolutely no good reason. They lost in overtime, 96-93. But who cared? The game was a happy reminder that an Ivy League team had made it to the Final Four, and a way to recover from the annihilation by Michigan State. Two years later, the NCAA ditched the third-place game.

As the lines to cast a ballot in the 2009 NOTY Final snake around the block -- the Mingovians and Macadangdangians are locked in an epic battle -- we decided to heed the call of at least one commenter and revive the tradition of the pointless consolation. Vote carefully, People. Absolutely nothing is on the line.

11 comments:

  1. This battle has meaning! It's the championship for the non-cheaters. For those that can't program to save their lives. Who'd win in a fight without the computer equivalent of steroids?

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  2. Leaving aside the issue of automated voting, I think this clearly illustrates the divergent appeals of names that put common, evocative words in absurd combination (Velvet Milkman, Nutritious Love) vs. names that are comprised of words with no common meaning but sound amusing or absurd (Mingo, Macadangdang). My preference is toward the former, but I think that both of the names in the final are pretty great exemplars of the latter.

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  3. Astute analysis, jc. You'd make a fine committee member.

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  4. I think there might be something wrong with this third place poll. I have checked back on this page at least 3 times and have been presented with a new opportunity to vote each time; each visit with the same computer and browser. All of the other previous polls, including the current poll for first place have shown me only the current results on subsequent visits after I had submitted my vote. The voting volume appears to be pretty light in this poll, so I don't suspect any, ahem, irregularities like some of the other polls, but I thought you should be aware.

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  5. This is the real championship. Vote Nutritious Love for NOTY-in-exile!

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  6. Just a suggestion to the Committee. We all agree that certain "irregularities" occurred in the voting to the detriment of contenders (ie., Velvet, Nutritious) that are clearly very popular with "real" voters. I would suggest a one-time special ruling to help alleviate this unfortunate circumstance. Namely, the winner of the third-place vote is allowed to compete again next year. I realize that's stretching the normal modus operandi of NOTY, but I believe this returns some degree of fairness to these auspicious procedings.

    What say you, Committee?

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  7. What?

    Nutritious Love should have been in the final, and she's being bested by Velvet Milkman?

    Tomfoolery, I say.

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  8. Yes! The greatest headline imaginable will happen!

    "Velvet Milkman dispenses Nutritious Love"

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  9. stw - if you are still reading this, sign me up!

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