Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just Ranting

According to an article in Mormon Times I guess there is some controversy on whether to participate in March Madness NCAA basketball pools. I have been filling these out in one form or another since I was 14 and really do not have a problem with it. Most LDS people are troubled by the gambling aspect and have internal debates about just telling coworkers no or calling them to repentance for being sinners of the vilest kind (as in any amount of money is gambling and you will go to hell).
This always troubles me as some people feel the need to make mountains out of molehills and further alienate themselves from their personal communities – somehow believing by setting themselves up on a pedestal everyone will come and bask in their glory. To extend the metaphor, what actually happens is they end up all alone with birds crapping on them. When I go to the movies I am betting that for 6 dollars I will get back an entertainment experience equal to that amount or more. Sometimes I win (The Dark Knight) and sometimes I lose, big time (Pokemon 2000); but the big picture is I am gambling money to get an entertainment experience.
When I go to Nevada (4 times in 40 years), I play the quarter slots. Typically I get a roll (10 dollars) and I see how long that will last, usually getting 2 hours out of it. So in my mind I am paying 10 bucks for 2 hours entertainment. When March Madness comes around and someone asks if I want to pay a dollar to compete and bond with my peers, I am in. Am I playing to win money? No. I am paying a very small amount for the experience. When Lisa goes skydiving this summer for her birthday, she is paying 200 dollars and actually gambling she will not die; but we define it as she is paying $200 for the experience.
That is what I don’t get when the self-righteous start spouting off. My one dollar once a year to bond with my coworkers and have fun makes me a bad sinner going to hell, yet my wife’s 200 dollars to gamble her life makes her awesome and adventurous? Do people actually think about what they are saying? I guess the more fundamental question to ask is there a difference between gambling and entertainment?
NOTE: I actually run a March Madness pool at my office for people who no nothing about basketball and/or just want to have fun. I do not charge anything to play and the winner gets to brag about how great they are. Mainly it is all the women I work with who participate, and right now two of them are sitting with 15 out of the sweet sixteen correct (one of them picked teams based on whose name sounded better). So there are other solutions then alienating yourself.
SECOND NOTE: Lisa is TOTALLY awesome for skydiving. And if worse comes to worse, her life insurance is fully paid up. CA-CHING and sign me up for LDS singles dot whatever!!


Anonymous said...

It's not like you're sharing porn with your friends or anything. It's a buck. Have a good time.

Heather said...

you can justify anything; gambling or not gambling. just do what feels right and good to you and don't listen to what anybody else has to say about it.

Oh, am I supposed to be anonymous on this controversy? oh well.

Samsmama said...

Read your comment on List of the Day and your profile picture cracked me up.

Here's my only beef with March Madness and tourney brackets:

I filled one out every year, for years. Always taking "my" team to win it all. Didn't fill one out last year. We won.

Also? David Sedaris is GENIUS! I have read ALL of his stuff at least twice. And I keep it all in my bathroom!

TStevens said...

My senior year in high school I ran pool (for money) and our principaljoined in to be a good guy. He randomly picked Indiana to win (he was an alumnus). This was 1987 and he was the only one to get it right. In hindsight he realized gambling with kids in his school AND taking their money would probably not be good.

Otherwise I have never won. I did have the Mountain Dew cap the year Arizona won and got a cheap T-Shirt.

Paigie said...

I always thought that I made up the movie comparison to gambling? I am guessing I heard that as a small child from you, what a bad influence you are on me!

Seriously up in the Yukon Territory there is a little casino (sort of) its the only place to go that is not a bar. I always figured I wasted ten bucks on a movie why not have some fun and maybe get something in return!

I heard from a religion teacher at BYU to do whatever feels good/right or both, something like that!