John Engle – Currently in this country people are consumed by an annual event like no other. An event that elicits extreme passion and fanfare. No, not the return of the McRib. The NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament!
Every year in March (and early April) sixty-eight of the best college basketball teams in America vie in a sudden-death tournament to see who will be the champion. It is an event I always watch and have followed since I was a kid. Certainly the fact that my alma mater does well every year and has several championships doesn’t hurt my attention span regarding the tournament. Even if they didn’t do well though, I still would watch. I love college basketball.
Another thing I love are The Muppets. Those adorable, funny creatures created by Jim Henson are in many ways the backdrop to my youth which I am doing my best to make the backdrop of my own children’s youth. They were there from the beginning for me and I still to this day love the movies and Christmas specials. I’m sure I’m not unique in that regard.
So as I brainstormed writing ideas it seemed only natural to combine two of my lifelong interests: basketball and The Muppets. In the paragraphs below I present to you what I think a Muppet basketball team would look like if given the opportunity to compete in March Madness. I like our chances.
The Starting Five
Point Guard – Kermit the Frog. Every basketball team has a leader. The point guard is the guy who doesn’t necessarily score a ton of points, but controls the game and makes sure everyone is playing up to their abilities. He handles the ball, runs the offense, and sets his teammates up for success. He also keeps the team from killing each other and falling apart in times of stress. This is clearly Kermit. There can be no other at this position.
Shooting Guard – Lew Zealand. A questionable choice perhaps for some, but the shooting guard is supposed to be able to shoot the ball into the basket. That is his main job. Lew is already accustomed to throwing his boomerang fish from far away so I think if we can convince him a basketball functions the same way we just might score quite a few three pointers.
Small Forward – Pepe. When we say small forward, we really mean small forward. Just don’t call him shrimp forward. Sure the ball might crush him if he doesn’t dodge and dive out of its’ way, but the other team won’t be able to find him, let alone guard him. And with his suspect temper and scheming ways we fully expect him to take advantage of whatever situation presents itself on the court.
Power Forward – Miss Piggy. The power forward on many teams is expected to play tough defense and rebound. Would you step in front of Miss Piggy to try to rebound the ball? Me either. Case closed. My only concern as coach is she gets two technical fouls, is thrown out of the game, and karate chops the referee. Definitely could be a problem for us, but the positive side is I think she will be great in the NBA.
Center – Big Bird. The great yellow one is fully expected to dominate underneath the goal. He will clearly ruffle more than a few feathers with his scoring and subsequent sing-a-long each trip down the court. However, he is our secret weapon. Few know this, but he is related to another Bird. Larry. Need I say more?
The Bench Players
Scooter – Mostly will hold the coach’s clipboard.
Fozzie Bear – Doesn’t play much, but keeps the team mood light with his “brand’ of humor. Only agreed to be on the team if given a ten minute set in the locker room before each game.
Gonzo – They don’t call him Gonzo the Great for nothing. Actually, they might. Anyway, we are hoping he can set screens for his teammates on offense with his nose. Or at least knock the ball in the hoop with it.
Statler & Waldorf – Strictly on the team for trash talking purposes. Unfortunately they focus all their energy on Fozzie instead of the other team.
Beaker – Sometimes people get injured playing basketball. We assume this will be Beaker on our team. Probably from an explosion of some sort during team introductions.
Bert & Ernie – Spend most of their time debating whether the team mascot should be a rubber duck or a pigeon.
Emmet Otter – There ain’t no hole in the washtub, but he can sure put the basketball in the hole. Played on the 1983 Waterville travel ball team.
Oscar The Grouch – Added by the editor for the sake of using his catchphrase in the title pun.
So as you can see, The Muppets could field a pretty decent basketball team. Sure, they might not win March Madness. However, I say they would dominate a tournament consisting of the Peanuts gang, Disney Princesses, and Scooby Doo. Space Jam has nothing on these guys. See you in the Championship Game, Bugs Bunny. I like our chances.