March 27, 2010
March Madness is all but over. My Xavier Muskateers gave the tournament a valiant effort as they made it to the Sweet 16 only to lose in dramatic fashion. It was a double overtime thriller with Xavier losing in the end 101-96. As I look at the remaining teams in the Elite 8, 3 are teams that XU lost to during the regular season-Butler, Baylor, and Kansas St; and the rest are big time programs that are the top teams in their conferences-Kentucky, Michigan St, Duke, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Perhaps you have heard of some of these programs. So when I evaluate Xavier's season, I judge how far they should have gone based on how they compare to the teams that are left. Xavier is one of the best 16 teams/programs in the country and proved that this year. Thanks to Chris Mack and the players. Jordan Crawford, please come back next year.
As far as Madeira Middle School's March Madness, that has ended as well. CJ has not received his grade yet, but he and his team performed well. There were some other groups I found to be impressive as well, but of course, Stanford University was the best. They had a Christmas tree set up to serve as the unofficial mascot, they had some red and black mylar balloons, and some peppermints with "S"s on them. CJ toughed it out and did well. He has always been better at oral presentations than I was at his age. He proved it once again.
I was not exposed to presenting in front of people at a young age like the kids are today. When asked to present our baseball coach his gift certificate at our after season party, I handed it to him and said, "I ain't no good at givin' speeches". My father beamed with pride.
When given an assignment in 8th grade to give a persuasive speech, I chose a topic about why cigarette and beer commercials were banned from television. (Maybe it was just cigarette commercials, I think I saw about 659 Bud Light commercials during the tournament). There should be plenty of ways to make this exciting and make an emotional plea. Filling 4 minutes should have been no problem. I failed miserably. I think I filled 240 seconds with about 296,345 ums. You have to um very quickly to make that happen. They blend together so you are actually not umming anymore, you are sounding more like stereo speakers with a bad hummmmmm. Remember stereo speakers? We had them in the 70's when I was in grade school.
I finally overcame my public speaking fear due to the following phrase, "Attention Kmart shoppers..." My first job out of college was as a manger with Kmart. They had the reputation of having a great manager training program, so I thought I would do that for a bit until I had enough experience to get out of retail. Apparently, I do not have enough experience 23 years later, as I am still in retail management. The best laid plans of mice and 22 year-olds gang aft agley. Anyway, I was asked to go to a store that was closing/relocating to close the old location. This involved running the store while the old team went to set up the new location. Myself and a skeleton crew would process transfers for the good stuff and try to sell the not so good stuff. All the other stores in the district sent us their not so good stuff to sell as well. Talk about a clearing house for crap. First, it was Kmart merchandise (pre Martha Stewart), second we were selling Kmart not so good stuff. Therefore, to get rid of this stuff, we had to run a lot of Bluelight specials. Remember those? They used to be kind of a big deal back in the 80's. Without making this even longer with my editorials about Kmart in the 80's, I will just share with you that I was the guy on the intercom saying "Attention Kmart shoppers..." around 20 times per day. While it was over a microphone and not technically in front of a group of people, it did help me overcome my fear of public speaking. I was very lucky to not have told people to "come on over to the men's department where we are taking our pants down.." like some other announcer I knew. It may have gotten a bigger crown over though and given me less stuff to transfer out later. Ahh, hindsight really is 20/37.
So the madness is over, and I have to return to work on Monday. It should be AWESOME!!! I will let you know how it goes.