Friday, April 17, 2009

March Madness: The Championship Game

This was it. The big game. Weeks of struggle, great games, tension, last-minute wins all came down to one game for all the marbles. All the dead authors were gone, and only two remained standing. In one corner, bestselling mystery/adventure writer Janet Evanovich; in the other corner, bestselling legal/suspense writer John Grisham. Who would claim the crown of the first ever Author's Showdown?

#2 Janet Evanovich vs. #1 John Grisham
Under the whitehot glare of the spotlights, these two had proven repeatedly that they not only wouldn't wilt, but they would thrive and respond with their very best. Each have millions of fans, and the stadium was packed for the game. At the tip, it was Evanovich that seized the early momentum, scoring on her first possession and also stifling Grisham with her defense. But she was unable to pull away from Grisham, and as the half wore on, she seemed to lose a half-a-step, perhaps as her initial adrenaline rush waned. Grisham was able to score two late field goals and took a 3-2 halftime lead.

There was a long layoff between halfs as the advertising barrage carried on for NetLibrary and Overdrive Audio and all of the Library's many subscription databases, and there was much speculation on how the extended halftime would affect the two contenders. Would they come out flat, or would the extra time give them more opportunity to make some adjustments?

They came out flat. Neither team could find the basket for several minutes and halfway through the second period it was still 3-2; tense but not really all that exciting. The advertisers had to be nervous. Then Evanovich stuffed a Grisham jumper, snagged the rejection and drove the length of the court for an easy layup. All tied, 3-3 and the game was afoot. From there, both teams seemed to settle in and the lid on the basket seemed to come off. They traded baskets, then traded again and it was 5 to 5 with time running down. Evanovich drove down court, made a brilliant fake and had a clear 20 foot jumper. It caught the back of the rim, rolled halfway down, then popped out the other side.


Grisham snagged the rebound and quickly called timeout. The stadium was rawkin, with Grisham fans waving their file folders and Evanovich fans chanting "De-Fence, De-Fence". Out of the timeout, Grisham brought the ball in, dribbling at the top of the key, then fed the ball into the post. Evanovich got a hand on the pass and knocked it away and her fans went wild, but the ball went straight to Kyle McAvoy, protagonist of Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Associate. McAvoy, despite his youth, smoothly grabbed the loose ball and let it fly from about fifteen feet just before the final horn. The shot wasn't pretty, it caught iron, backboard and iron again, but with the Grisham crowd going wild and the Evanovich fans holding their breath, it settled through the net. Game over, and John Grisham is the champion, 6-5, in a thriller.

Congratulations to Mr. Grisham!

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