"I have a fantasy," I say. "I live in Three-Pointland. I live out Beyond the Arc. I Launch from Three-Pointland. From Downtown, Way Downtown. From Another Area Code. From Another Zip Code. Nothing but Net."
"Uh-oh," she says.
"I Shoot the Trey," I say. "I Handle the Rock. Protect It with My Life, of course. I Dish. I think of myself mostly as a Number 1, but I could play the Two in a pinch. The big thing is the Trey. The Trifecta. I Lock and Load, Square to the Basket. I Get a Good Look. I Launch!"
"College basketball, right?" she says. "I should have known. The leaves are gone. The days are getting colder. You're going into that hibernation thing again. You and the television. College basketball."
"It's not that I'm afraid to Take the Rock to the Rack," I say. "I'll do that. I'll go Into the Paint, Down the Lane, Set Up on the Blocks, Clean the Glass, Rattle the Tin, Grab the Orange, but my strength really isn't Putbacks and Slams. I'm a Three-Pointland sort of guy."
"I can never get it straight," she says. "Are those all separate games you watch from now until the end of March, or is it just one long, four-month production?"
"On defense, I'm In My Man's Face, In His Shirt," I say. "I Take the Charge. I Give the Foul. I Trap. I Jump Switch. I Help Out."
"I think it is just one long game," she says. "The uniforms change, and sometimes the lighting is different from different arenas and gyms, but the horn is always sounding—honk—and the same referees are blowing their whistles, and, for sure, the same two annoying voices are describing the action in their hyped-up, clich�-filled way. Is it a rule that college basketball broadcasters can never read a book about anything except college basketball, that they can have no knowledge except about college basketball? Or am I being a little harsh?"
"I know there will be potholes and strange twists and turns on the Road to the Final Four, but I am ready for that," I say. "I'm not afraid to Take Control. I'll throw up the Tough Shot, the Buzzer-Beater and it'll be Good If It Goes. Do you know what I mean? I will Work the Clock and hope to Get the Call. If need be, I'll Launch a Prayer."
"The thing that bothers me most about this college basketball is the overemphasis," she says. "Do any of these kids ever go to school? One night they're playing in Hawaii, and the next night they're in Alaska. Doesn't that make it a little hard to go to the library? Some of these teams are on television more than Oprah and Ricki Lake and Alex Trebek combined. I think Georgetown played Villanova a hundred times last year. At least it seemed that way. Bobby Knight and that red sweater could be part of the wallpaper. Is that the only sweater he owns?"