Confessions of a Hoop Junkie: 2001 media & sarcasm

Published online, Monday, March 26, 2001 on Warning: Sarcasm alert.

Bleary-eyed from the extraordinary 12-hour Saturday marathon of the Women’s NCAA Elite Eight, Sunday morning found me clutching my coffee and half-listening to National Public Radio.

I came to full attention when, during the local newsbreak, the New York reporter announced, “Duke and Stanford have advanced in the NCAA Tournament.”

“Excuse me?” I thought. “Didn’t I just see Duke upset? And Stanford? They didn’t play yesterday!”

I didn’t take me long to realize my mistake. They were, of course, speaking about the Men’s tournament. Not surprisingly, there was no mention fo the Women’s tournament, even though nearby power UConn had again advanced to the Elite Eight.

It was not the first time the Women’s tournament had been dismissed by omission, and so I composed the following imaginary “Consumer Complaint.”

At the local NPR affiliate WNYC, the studio phone rings.

WNYC: Hello, WNYC.

CALLER: Yes, I’m calling to correct an error during this Sunday’s morning broadcast.

WNYC: Thank you, we always appreciate input. What was the error?

CALLER: Well, you reported that Duke and Stanford moved on in the NCAA Championships. Actually, Duke, the #1 seed, was eliminated yesterday. And as for Stanford, they lost week.

WNYC: My goodness, that’s a significant error. Let me check the wire….

CALLER: I can give you some information if you’d like. Duke was upset by Southwest Missouri State.

WNYC: Who?

CALLER: Southwest Missouri State and Jackie Stiles.

WNYC: Um, sorry… Jackie?

CALLER: Yes, Jackie Stiles scored 41 points in the game. You know, of course, she’s the leading scorer in NCAA Women’s Division I history. She surpassed the record for most points in a single season early in the first half…

WNYC: Jackie…. That would be a girl.

CALLER: Yes. It was quite a day of basketball. TWO #1 seeds were eliminated…. In the same bracket Xavier upset perennial favorite Tennessee. Goodness, Pat was upset with her Volunteers. It was their earliest exit in seven years…

WNYC: Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but aren’t you talking about women?

CALLER: Yes, of course. Weren’t you? I mean, the reporter did say “the NCAA Championships.”

WNYC: Um, yes. But I believe he meant the MEN’S championships.

CALLER: The Men? The men are playing the women in the NCAA Championships…

WNYC: Actually, it’s a separate championship – if you watched CBS, you’d see live coverage….

CALLER: Oh. Well, then. Perhaps your reporter wasn’t incorrect in his facts.

WNYC: No, I believe he wasn’t. We’re very careful about what we broadcast.

CALLER: I see. Well, then, since you are so careful bout what you broadcast, I’d like to correct an error on your Sunday broadcast.

WNYC: And what would that be?

CALLER: There was absolutely no mention of the Women’s NCAA Championship.


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