Monday, December 9, 2013

Level With Me

I prefer that high school remain, like a tailgating car, in the rearview mirror, but when I spotted today's error I was back in front of my locker in Fitts House — clique-free me talking with friends, scouring the hallway for just a glimpse of oh-so-pretty cheerleader Vicki and trying to make it to Mr. Raslavsky's English class before the riiiiiing of the bell.

Why the school-days daze? I was transported to Fairfield High circa 1990 because these basketball scores tangentially reminded me of something I'm guessing we all had to endure in one English class or another. I speak of the formal outline we had to hand in prior to writing an essay. You remember those outlines, right? They were to act as guides, full of points and sub-points, Roman numerals and capital letters. They followed a straightforward path, which looked something like this:

I. Main point
       A. Secondary point
       B. Next secondary point
II. Next main point
       A. Secondary point
               1. Tertiary point
               2. Next tertiary point
                       a. Fourth-level point, if necessary
                       b. Next fourth-level point
       B. Next secondary point

And so on... We presented indented information from most broad to most specific, and the pattern continued until the outline was complete. Each "point" level had an equal weight; items at the same level carried the same significance.

An outline helped us organize and present our high school papers. Similar guidelines would have benefited the person who composed this newspaper section. If we were to apply an outline approach to this material, Basketball would be the title, National Invitation Tournament and Tournament would be the main points (the Roman numerals), and receiving the capital-letter treatment would be our secondary points: Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championship. The game results would be our tertiary points, and we'd have no fourth-level points.

Knowing what you now know, do you notice what's out of line about this pseudo outline? If National Invitation Tournament and Tournament are equally weighted "points," they merit equal treatment. National Invitation Tournament gets a large, boldface presentation, and rightfully so. Tournament gets ... the shaft. Why is it relegated to the smaller, non-bold type reserved for our tertiary game results? As outlined above, both tournament names should look identical. They should—

Ooh, I think I see Vicki by the water fountain. I've gotta run!

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