This is both my first trip to Detroit and my first Final Four.
You know more about Detroit than you realize. It is no metaphor for the economic crisis, it is the economic crisis. If you're having trouble getting your mind around what's happening right now, one quick crash course would be a weekend in Detroit, maybe at the faux-classical "Greektown Casino."
Crumbling infrastructure, blighted economies, eerily-quiet manufacturing plants, epidemic property crimes, slickly-organized gambling, frightened police officers, incompetent security procedures, hookers, an insulated excess-obsessed bourgeois, restless unemployed, unrestrained idle youth, it's all here folks, and it's no bad Mel Gibson movie, and it took me less than six hours to personally witness all this just as I was making my way around town to see a basketball game. If all that doesn't scare you, maybe you should try a Red Bull.
Now they have the bread and circus of a local working-class-identified always-underdog Gladiator squad on a string of vanquishing conquests of superior opponents--the Michigan State Spartan Men's Basketball Team.
"GO GREEN!" some drunken college student, usually a man, screams.
"GO WHITE!" some drunken college students, usually women, screech back.
It took me about 15 minutes to get completely effing sick of hearing that, even though I am a fan and admirer of Tom Izzo and his program.
Um, "there's a lot of green in here" has become an instant sports cliche because it is not only true, but it is a fact that assaults your consciousness when you are at Ford Field. If you didn't know otherwise, it would not be unreasonable to assume you were on the MSU campus.
The Tarheels will win if they play well, no matter how well the Spartans play, they simply are a better team. But, this 2008-09 Tarheels team does not always play well. One thing that has been a repeating pattern is that it seems that just wanting to play well has not been enough for them to win a game. They have to want something else as well, or they lose their focus and get beat. If the Tarheels are not on their game, MSU is good enough to beat them, lesser teams (*cough* BC *cough*) have also beaten the Tarheels when they were not playing well.
Being here is like having a hot affair with someone while in town to attend a funeral. It's great, it really is, but I am surrounded by the human suffering and hollow, quiet, remains of massive, sadistic, public governmental and private economic fraud.