Thursday, March 11, 2010

March Madness

This is my favorite time of year sports-wise. (And it'd be even better if my team every gave it more than a one game appearance in the conference tournament and made a run for once. FOR ONCE!)

The best thing about March Madness is the madness. Tons of games, tons of teams, players you've never heard of. Teams down and out getting up off the mat to win. Huge upsets. Back and forth battle.

It's like a great thriller.

I mean, isn't that what we want in our crime fiction? You want the wild unpredictability. You want the hero and the villain. You want a wicked twist in the second half that puts everything in doubt. Even if you're a seasoned reader, you want to be surprised.

My favorite moments in a thriller are usually the craziest moments in a game. I love when the hero is down and out. Beaten, emotionally shattered, about to lose his grip on sanity. The villain has his hands on the timer and is going to end the world, or kill their target, or steal all the money and escape to Virginia.

And the hero gets up. Fights back one more time.

It reminds me of March Madness. Your team (or whatever team I choose to root for that year because my team is never in it. NEVER IN IT.) is down ten points late in the second half. They could just roll over and go on spring break.

But they hit a three. They get some life and they crawl back.

Nuts, isn't it? Gets your blood pumping.

Thrills are great.

What's your favorite part of a thriller?


John McFetridge said...

Good one, Dave.

My favourite parts aren't always single moments, sometimes it's when a team makes a huge adjustment at halftime (or even during the game), changes its plan, its style, finds a weakness in the opponent no one else saw and exploits it.

Remember that scene in The Bourne Identity, in the kitchen, the bad guys are coming, Bourne knocks the gas line off the stove, shoves a magazine in the toaster and gets out just before the house blows up?

I like that kind of improvising on the run way more than some specially-made Bond gadget.

Dana King said...

I like thrillers where multiple, potentially unrelated plot lines inexorably weave together to affect each other.

To strain the basketball analogy:
Maryland can't buy a three, but Duke's big man is in foul trouble early. Maryland has a strong forward who has underperformed all year, but shows signs of playing the game of his life, and Duke's shooting guard tweaked a hamstring late in the first half.

None of these absolutely has to relate to the others, but if they do, and you see it coming halfway through the book and have to watch it unfold like a slow-motion car wreck you can do nothing to stop, now that's my idea of a thriller.

Doesn't even have to include a dead body, though the threat of dead bodies is always available.