The weirdness of basketball

So I am participating in my office pool. I used my patented WAG method, which consisted of a little bit of reading the CBS description of each team, a little bit of supporting teams from places where my friends got degrees or teach, and a substantial amount of random guessing. So far, I don't seem to be doing all that much worse than people who actually know what they're doing.

Naturally, therefore, I am watching the games. This leads to two observations. First, HDTV, even a little HDTV, really does make watching sports more enjoyable. And second, basketball may be the silliest game ever invented.

I say this as someone who spent the better part of the winter every year dribbling, practicing my free throws, and memorizing plays. When you come to the game fresh after a fifteen or twenty year hiatus, however, it is readily apparent that the thing was invented by madmen. Or at the very least, people with a sick, sick sense of humor. Dribbling is a mildly more sophisticated version of what toddlers do with a rubber ball. Even toddlers get bored after five minutes of this. It makes the game much more difficult, to be sure, but so would requiring them to play in waders and a gas mask.

You can excuse these bizarre features in games that grew organically out of older ones. But someone invented this game out of whole cloth. It makes one quite faint to contemplate.

That is not to say that I'm not enjoying it. At least I actually know the rules of this game, and can appreciate some of the finer points. But there's something disturbing to think of millions of children growing up across the nation with a fervent longing to spend the majority of their adult days . . . dribbling.