Sixth Man: An open letter to Brown Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Martin ’94

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Dear Head Coach Mike Martin ’94 and the Brown University Bears Varsity Men’s Basketball Team,

I hope this missive finds you well. I am first and foremost a fan of your team–one of a select group, really–but I am also a concerned freshman at the university you represent. You see, there are only a few things I want to come away with from my college experience: a decent education; some good memories; some means of securing steady and potentially lucrative employment; and a trip to the NCAA Divison I Men’s Basketball tournament.

Unfortunately, this latter desire seems out of reach. Reaching the NCAA tournament (aka March Madness, aka The Big Dance) requires winning the Ivy League regular-season title: the Ivy League–echoing its academically elitist, survival-of-the-fittest ethos–is the only of the 32 D-I conferences that does not hold a postseason tournament to determine its winner. Postseason tournaments reward good teams, but they also reward lucky ones. Regular-season championships only reward good teams. And as an alumnus like yourself probably knows, Coach Martin, the Brown basketball program has had trouble offering any good teams, much less consistently good teams.

Before I go any further, I want to offer the following disclaimer: I love the Brown basketball team. I attended three of the past four home games, and only missed the fourth because of an unavoidable scheduling conflict. I am possibly the only person ever to download the 790 AM Radio app in order to listen to Brown basketball games on my phone. I have used ESPN’s Gamecast feature to follow every road game of consequence. And I think, from my admittedly limited observation, that every single member of the team seems like both a good human being and a competent basketball player. I just wish this collection of good human beings and competent basketball players could provide Brown the one additional dimension it sorely lacks (besides global prestige on par with its rivals, decent weather, and a nap room). Continue Reading