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Road to a 16 Seed: Tournament Postponed Until New Tape Measure Arrives



By: Chris O'Brien


"Ten feet. I think you’ll find it’s the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hawkins."


Last night, Coach Steve Hopper of Hawkins State (IN) was channeling his inner Gene Hackman, reenacting the iconic scene from Hoosiers. But his starting point guard noticed a small discrepancy...


"Uh, coach, this isn't 10 feet..."


Mike Byers, the 5th-year senior point guard, was holding his iPhone using the virtual tape measure. His screen displayed 9 feet, 8 inches.


"What is this, a TikTok ruler?" Hopper asked. "Someone get me a real tape measure."


The players, team managers, and assistant coaches checked their pockets, backpacks, and duffle bags, then let out a collective shrug.


"Rulers? Yardsticks? Nothing?"


The team walked around the nearly empty gym. A janitor was putting in new garbage bags, but possessed no measurement devices. Same was true of the scoreboard technician. A concession stand kitchen crew suggested using sticks of butter.


"Anyone have a butter-to-inches conversion?" Coach Hopper asked. "Oh, what am I saying here!"


Calls were made. 9-1-1 said this was not an emergency. The local handyman said he could help, but he'd need to stop by Home Depot first and that next Thursday between 8 AM and 3 PM would work out better. "Larry the Ladder Guy," a retired fireman who specializes in pro bono gutter clean up and "cats stuck in trees" situations agreed to assist, but only if they'd set the rims at 12 feet to "take dunking out of the game of basketball."


Unfortunately, the "Court Rulers," a unionized group responsible for all court measurements in college basketball, were flying home from Portland after they were called on to resolve an emergency 3-point line mishap.


At 9 pm, the Court Rulers arrived. They set up their ladder, but both men began nervously patting their pockets. Turns out their tape measures were left in Portland.


"So, we have two options," the lead Court Ruler said, addressing all eight coaches from the Midwest Conference on a conference call.


"Alright, what's option 1?"


"Eyeball it."


"Option 2?"


"Order a new tape measure."


Coach Dart from Medium Rare University asked if the tape measures might've been confiscated by the TSA. Dart has experienced suitcase issues at each of the last three Midwest Conference Tournaments.


"We haven't ruled that out," the Court Rulers replied.


The coaches debated whether to pay $6 for regular shipping, receiving the tape measure in 2-3 days, or sign up for Amazon Prime for next-day delivery. A pros/cons list was created as well as a "Top 5 Streaming Platforms" ranking. Amazon Prime finished 4th in the Coaches Poll.


"One of the stranger things I've ever seen," Coach Hopper said. "But, confidentially, our guys were pretty banged up and we'll benefit from these extra days of rest. We'll get together tonight at the hotel and watch a movie. On Amazon Prime."


The Midwest Conference Tournament will resume Thursday night with what we can only hope are two 10 foot rims.


Just like the ones in Hoosiers.


You can read more from this "Book in Progress" currently titled "Road to a 16 Seed." Other chapters include Point Guard Smacks Floor Too Hard on Defense, Breaks Both Hands and Refs Need More Time With Instant Replay, Take VHS Tape Home

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