And The Winner Is…

This article is part of our “Let’s Keep This Website Awesome Over Winter Break” Tournament series. Check out the opposing article here and be sure to share your favorite! Voting ends for this final round matchup at 9pm PST Sunday, Jan 15! (12am EST Monday, Jan 16) The article with the most likes, tweets, and +1s combined will be declared the winner.

It all began about a year ago with a run-down basketball court. And next to that run-down basketball court was a table outside of a Starbucks.

No one made it out of our small dirt-mining town. Everybody, and their father, and their father’s father, mined dirt. The richer folks got to manage the miners, put the dirt into little bags or barista part-time, but most lives were pretty much dirt-centered. 

Our staff knew this and we didn’t kid ourselves about any fancy big-town aspirations. We were just kids at a Starbucks with a hobby… But, man, we loved to write. 
One day we were tossing around article ideas on a little notebook at that fateful table, the writer’s equivalent of shooting some hoops. As we dribbled and slam dunked ideas onto that page, one after another, it was clear that we had a passion for this metaphorical sport. Our youngest staff writer, who was three at the time, smiled up at us with wide, trusting eyes and asked: “can you pweathe take me to the baffwoom now?”

As soon as we returned he said the important part, a heartfelt “are we weawy gonna make it in witing, guyth?” We looked into his adorable little face, his tiny little hand trying to steal our coffee, and knew full well that this child’s hopes and dreams depended on us making it as basketball (comedy writing) champions. Not knowing if it were true, we said “of course, little guy. We’re gonna make it just fine.”

This was followed by a perfect sunset and a sweeping crane shot of the neighborhood where we all grew up, the sky full of promise.

Nearly a year later we were getting by with our own USC Campus Basement page, playing the game (writing) that we so loved, but we were still trapped in this small dirt-mining town. We had to get real and become dirt miners, just like everyone else. Just when we were scheduling hard hat fittings, shovel practice and a lifetime of regret –

– our dreams resurfaced with the announcement of the Campus Basement Tournament.

Now we had a goal. Our four-year-old’s little dirt-mining blisters could heal. We entered the tournament, and made it through the first two rounds as front runners under a Remember-The-Titans-like montage, complete with late 60s music and a very young Ryan Gosling in the periphery.

Our hot, supportive girlfriend informed us in an emotional moment in her driveway that her parents would only let her marry us if we won this tournament, and they were really pushing for her to get back with Hofstra, her ex that they always liked more. We climbed back into our banged up old truck alone to have a good cry. She was just so hot.

We pushed through the next round, held back slightly by having started Friday Night Lights and getting totally addicted. We felt pretty good until our failed comedy writer father was suddenly stricken with dirt lung. On his deathbed, a masculine tear in his eye, his final words to us were “you sure as hell better win that article thing, idiot.”

Then our best friend dropped from the staff to mine dirt. We had a clumsy, emotional fist fight over why we wanted to keep chasing our dreams while everyone else in this town chose to be “practical.”

Even without him, the elimination round was upon us. Our writing wasn’t our best. We were nearly broken. But when our sickly great-grandmother walked uphill through miles of snow to cast a physical “like” for our article, supporting and believing in us through it all, our spirit come roaring back and put us ahead.

To honor her memory (the walking in the snow was really too hard on her. RIP), we decided to get serious. No more Netflix. Meaningful, forgiving nod to girlfriend and spontaneous, steamy kiss for best friend. (Then quickly realizing, apologizing and switching.)

Inspired so hard by our own story, we know this battle isn’t over yet. These dreams that started next to a basketball court aren’t done being dreamed. This is it, the last article of the tournament, and we still need your votes. In the words of our favorite little writer: “it thtawted pwetty thlow but there’s thome good thtuff in there.”

We hope we make it too, little buddy. We hope we make it too.