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Day Six Recap & The Comedy of Cotter (by special request)

Bone battled back to the top of the standings yesterday, but his position of eminence is supremely fragile. He and 11 others can still claim victory, and we’ve come to the stage of the tournament where every game makes a huge difference.

Nobody still has a chance at a perfect Final Four, but many still have two or three of their teams alive. Those twenty or thirty points can create a lot of movement in the standings.

Even Senior Moment (Bill Snider), currently languishing in 39th place with 69 points, can overtake the leaders if his three remaining teams—Kansas State, West Virginia, and Duke—all advance.

In fact, everybody except for thejester still has points left to earn (sorry Van).

Even the lowly IMP 2.0 (Cotter), currently squatting in 47th place like a spring-loaded albino gopher, could improve by as much as 30 places.

Yes, this is the same Cotter-come-lately, the same Cotter who slept through my wedding ceremony but somehow still managed to arouse himself in time to be first in line at the open-bar cocktail hour. Even HE still has something to play for.

He’ll be watching the games this weekend, most likely from a roulette table in the Pleasure Pit at Planet Hollywood, where he can still get a clear shot of the Sports Book. You’ll see him there, his eyes spazzing from the roulette wheel to the flat screens like he’s in the midst of yet another all-or-nothing bout with delirium tremens. One moment he’ll be fixed on that little white ball dancing up and—oh, oh!—just over that green 0 and 00 slot where he has neatly stacked his monthly credit card payment. And the next second he’ll be watching the orange basketball that will not only determine whether he can buy groceries this week, but also if he’ll be able to hold his head up high with pride for a whole year until this time next year.

The stakes, dear friends, could not be higher.

If he loses, he’ll have to return empty-handed to the utter squalor that is “his” brand-new Vegas condo, unfortunately located directly on the strip, and where he suffers the grotesque hardship of being paid a weekly salary to house-sit said condo indefinitely. For a man that needs to wear SPF “baby’s bottom” sunscreen, desert living can be quite barbaric. 

But, oh, if he wins. IF HE WINS! The glory of finishing in 17th place in the 2010 Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge will surely—surely—surpass any other earthly pleasures he’s ever experienced. He will feel like Dante after returning from the Empyrean; and, like Dante, he will have nothing but these mere words to describe it:

I know I saw the universal form,

the fusion of all things, for I can feel,

while speaking now, my heart leap up in joy.

Yes, if ever there was a man deserving of such joy, of having his body and soul ascend to Paradise to bathe in God’s pure light and glimpse infinity, it is certainly poor Cotter. His plight is so sad, so tragic, and his character is so pure and innocent that he makes even Petrie from The Land Before Time look like a good-for-nothing, wretched miscreant. Poor, poor Cotter and those pesky ATM withdrawal limits. Keep him in your thoughts this weekend.