Thursday, October 06, 2005
Hail To The Victors
The events of this time of year are a big deal for people like me. I know not all of you understand or even care about the passion that such seemingly trivial things evoke, but there's something about the competition, the unexpected and unsure outcome, the tension in waiting and the absolute thrill of victory when strangers you never met achieve something extraordinary far and away outside the realm of your own ability. I know I shouldn't, but I take it seriously, I take it personally. I'm way, way overinvested in the outcome of something so ultimately trivial. I admit it, I let it affect the way I treat other people in the course of the day, including my family, when I'm all amped up and agitated over the result.
But things are moving now and I can settle a little bit. There are results to look at to give me a better idea what to expect and to let me know how my winter off-season is going to go when this is all over.
Yesterday was sweet, though. We got the result we dreamed of, but couldn't reasonably expect: MIT Professor Richard R. Shcrock won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Woooooo! Fuck yeah!
Sure, he had to share it with two other people (one of whom is totally French), but I have to tell you, we're over the moon about it here. When I was building my Nobel Prize Fantasy Team, I sort of took Schrock out of loyalty because he, like me, is a graduate of UC Riverside.
Normally that's the Kiss of Death because we Highlanders lose everything. Basketball, water polo, Nobel Prize races, everything. Even every intramural sporting contest held between UCR students has ended in a draw. Every one. Sure, nobody loses, but nobody ever, ever wins either.
This is it, though. Like the Boston Red Sox last year, our world-famous losing streak has finally been broken. I know, Schrock went from UCR to Harvard and then to the faculty at MIT and hasn't been associated with UCR for almost 40 years, but association is association, bitches. Nobody associated with (associated with) UCR has ever won a Nobel Prize at anything, ever. This is not surprising considering UCR for most of it's 50+ years of existence has been a rinky-dink state school. But we still have our pride. We might be rinky-dink, but at least we're a UC and not a Cal-State, which is a system of 23 campuses devoted entirely to the cause of being high. And a communist. High communists, all of them. They're all about motivating the will of the proletariat to rise up and take control of the means of production, but they totally forgot where they left it. Plus The Tyra Banks Show is on TV and somebody just made popcorn.
This Nobel Prize is just the beginning of great things. I mean, look at the Red Sox this year, one year after breaking their streak, on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs by the Chicago White Sox. It doesn't sound that great but consider: the party last year was so awesome that 2/3 of the team--if not the entire city of Boston--is still hungover a year on. Look at them. You can practically smell the Jim Beam through the television. It's a miracle they could even field a team, let alone make the playoffs again. That's some mojo right there.
And that's what we've got at UCR now. Mojo. Not only can we lord it over the Cal-States, but brand-new two-week-old University of California Merced can eat our dust too. Bow down, haters. Bow down.
My unadulterated joy is slightly adulterated by the fact that I got stuck with South Korean poet Ko Un in the Nobel Prize for Literature category this year. I always knew this would be the weak spot on my Fantasy Roster. Not only a poet, but a Korean poet being judged by a panel full of Swedes. And worse, he's got no association to UCR at all. Normally that's a sign for hope, but since the streak has been broken, non-association with UCR is not the guarantee of victory it used to be, I'm (sort of) happy to say.
I need this one though because I got hammered in the Physics category. I mean come on, Roy J. Glauber from Harvard "for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence"? What a joke. Total fucking hack, that guy. I had Newton again. I know he's been dead a long time, but come on. The man invented gravity. I'm going to keep picking him until the Nobel people recognize.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9
PS- Angels 5-3 Yankees. That's the other thing I watch in the fall. Stay tuned for non-updates should the Angels lose.