Saturday, December 5, 2009

Abhor More Than Four

A lot has happened since you last heard from me including a big victory for our team against a good Florida State team, a career-high five minutes of playing time for me in a game against St. Francis (PA), and Tiger Woods apparently doing something important (I overheard a conversation but surprisingly can’t find anything on the internet or TV).  Clearly the most shocking of these three events was that I played five minutes in a game, considering that my career high for minutes played before then was three.  As I checked into the game, the crowd was noticeably anxious and rightfully so.  I did, after all, have a chance to record a five trillion which would have more than doubled my previous personal best of two trillion.  What the fans failed to realize, though, is that I wasn’t all that excited because a five trillion is actually not a good thing.  I know that intuitively that makes no sense to you whatsoever, but I think you’ll ultimately understand where I’m coming from.

Simply because I write a blog about being a benchwarmer and trying to achieve the coveted trillion, people seem to have given me more authority on all things trillion than David Bowie had during the walk-off in Zoolander.  The Trillion Man March e-mails me all the time asking if a two trillion is better or worse than a one trillion (it’s better) and whether the trillion is lost when a foul is committed (it is).  I never thought of myself as the person who should be making these judgment calls, but you all did so I guess I’ll embrace my role as the trillion authority and set the rules once and for all.  My first order of business is explaining why a four trillion is the best possible trillion anyone can ever achieve.

You remember when you were a freshman in college and you thought that it would be a good idea to go back to your high school for homecoming because the high school chicks were easy and would obviously swoon over the fact that you grew your hair out and learned how to play guitar?  And then do you remember how instead of wanting you to use your fake ID to score them booze, the high school chicks just kind of looked at you funny and tried to figure out what exactly you were doing still sitting in the student section during the game?  Well, as it turns out (and I hate to be the bearer of bad news here), high schoolers don’t really think you’re all that cool once you graduate, no matter how many yards you may have rushed for your junior year or how many homers you hit your senior year (a lesson I learned the hard way).  Once you walk across the stage to get your diploma on graduation day, you are essentially crossing a coolness threshold at your high school in which there’s no turning back.  In the same way, the four minute mark is the coolness threshold for getting a trillion.

The fact is that no matter how cool or uncool you were in high school, you reached your optimal coolness (from here on out, “coolness” refers to how accepted you’d be by the current high school student body if you tried hanging out with them) during the spring of your senior year (if you were still a dweeb, well, that kinda sucks for you).  It was at this time that a serious dose of senioritis kicked in, which basically resulted in you going to school every day just to make one last ditch effort at getting Jenny Peterson to look your way.  Up until this point, your coolness slowly escalated over the course of your four years in high school and as I already said, it began declining after graduation and will continue its decline forever.  When you’re a senior in college, it’s much more uncool to hang around your high school than if you just graduated from your high school a month ago.  And if you’re 42, married, and have three kids, it’s much more uncool (and probably illegal) for you to hang around your high school than a senior in college.  Make sense?  Good.

With that whole scenario in mind, now let’s investigate the levels of obtaining a trillion from the perspective of a high school senior girl looking for a date (don’t ask me why, just go with it).  Getting a one trillion is like being a freshman in high school.  Sure the one trillion is cute, but it still can’t even drive, which means it can’t take you out for lobster and therefore doesn’t impress you all that much.  A two trillion just started getting a little facial hair but can’t even bench 135 more than twice, so you can’t honestly expect it to keep you warm at night.  A three trillion is intriguing cause he’s got a lot of patches on his letter jacket and dunked in a varsity game, but he’s lacking the confidence that you need in a man.  A four trillion, though, uses the perfect amount of hair gel, will pay for your movie and popcorn, and once beat up three guys from Jefferson High by himself.  A four trillion is perfect for you (still playing the role of high school senior girl) because any younger and you’re robbing the cradle and any older you are associating yourself with that guy who just can’t let the glory days of high school go.

For those of you who couldn’t follow along with my awful analogy, what I’m trying to say is that a trillion becomes more impressive as more minutes are added onto it (3 tril > 2 tril > 1 tril) until the four trillion threshold is crossed, at which point the five trillion plays the role of college freshman and is both unimpressive and undesirable.  But why four trillion?  Did I just pick four because that’s how many levels of high school there are and I really wanted to use that analogy so I could give subtle hints about my high school experience?  Yes.  Did I pick four just so I could make excuses as to why I let a five trillion slip away against St. Francis?  Absolutely.  Do I think it’s mildly racist that both Hey Arnold and Recess had black characters who were much better at sports than the rest of their friends?  Of course I do (but I also think that if the black characters weren’t good at sports I would have been confused).  Still, even with my ulterior motives for choosing four trillion as the best possible trillion, I do have a sliver of logic to back my sentiment.

The reason a five trillion is actually worse than a four trillion is because there has to be a point in which the player is no longer playing the role of benchwarmer soaking up the scrub time, but is instead playing the role of “guy who could make his way into the rotation if he didn’t choose to do absolutely nothing with his opportunity”.  Someone who is playing five minutes in a game and isn’t doing anything of importance is basically just wasting everyone’s time.  The fact that they’ve managed to get more than four minutes means that they shouldn’t be treated as a scrub for that particular game, because scrub time officially starts with four minutes left and a 20 point lead.  As such, because they haven’t been dubbed a “scrub” (“dub a scrub” is a fun phrase) they have an obligation to entertain the crowd with their play instead of trying to be inefficient by getting a trillion.  When scrubs get trillions, it’s riveting stuff.  When guys playing five or more minutes get trillions, it’s borderline depressing.

As far as why four minutes is the designated scrub time, it’s pretty simple – the last media timeout takes place at the four minute mark.  In case you don’t know what that last sentence means, college basketball games are broken into segments of four minutes so that the broadcast companies can take breaks to show commercials and keep their sponsors happy.  The last media timeout is the last guaranteed time in which teams will huddle around each other and discuss strategy, which is why it signifies the start of scrub time.  Coaches don’t want to have to talk over the offense and defense with scrubs (or look us in the eye for that matter), so they wait until the last media timeout to sub us in, and expect us to run out the clock.  If a coach puts a player in before the last media timeout (like Coach Matta did with me against St. Francis), he is saying that he wouldn’t mind discussing strategy with said player and is basically taking away the player’s status as a scrub for that game.  It’s a complicated science that few people fully understand.

Because I checked into the St. Francis game with five minutes left to play, my title of scrub had been forfeited.  I was no longer eligible for a good trillion (that is, a four trillion or less), so I was forced to change my style of play accordingly.  This is why I took two shots (that would have gone down if I wasn’t robbed), had an assist, and talked an inordinate amount of smack while I was playing.  It was the first time in my career that I was a “normal” player and had to change my attitude to accommodate my label change.  I was now playing the role of “guy who could make his way into the rotation” and I felt all sorts of pressure as a result.  According to my new label, I had a chance of parlaying my five minutes into a permanent stripping of the scrub label with a solid performance.  I put forth a good deal of effort to be as efficient as possible and make the most of my opportunity.  Instead, I went 0-for-2 in five uninspiring minutes and returned to my role as walk-on benchwarmer the following game.  Order in the universe has been restored.


Don’t forget that Club Trillion t-shirts are now available by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds benefit A Kid Again, a local charity aimed at enhancing the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses.  As of right now, over 550 shirts have been sold which translates into over 120 kids getting sponsored this Christmas, simply because of the contributions from the Trillion Man March.  I’m truly blown away by the success of the t-shirt deal and how much money its raised for a great cause.  Keep up the good work. ___________________________________________________

Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Losers: R. DeCeglio, C. Heller, B. Aldrich, J. Zelek, D. Gerdeman, T. Read, K. Schomaker, and A. Victory (streak of 9)

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Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder