Ace Purple is the greatest mascot in the history of collegiate sports. He is a riverboat gambler, smoker, womanizer, and a man of a million mouths. He is the mascot for the University of Evansville, a team hailing from the greatest basketball conference in the universe: The Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC Tournament starts this weekend, and Ace Purple makes his annual trek through the badlands of southern Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri...ultimately to join forces with others with the same interests.)
ST. LOUIS - The boat has arrived, my friends.
This marks the 23rd MVC Tournament in St. Louis. Over the past 23 years, I have dodged murder in this city 36 times. This is quite impressive considering the tournaments have usually been only four days. However, the area has been kind: I've robbed several ATMs at Union Station, twirled my cane with several members of the Bradley cheerleading squad, and smoked the finest pipes with probably half of the SIU student body.
The MVC Tournament does not begin until my arrival. Usually, it began because our crappy basketball team was always playing in the Thursday preliminary round. This year, however, my thumpin' Aces are a healthy squad. That's right. Wake up the echoes of Jerry Sloan, we're kicking some serious UE butt around here. That's more than enough to twirl a cane at. Sorry. I have to reference the cane once every five sentences, it's a part of the contract.
In the beginning, the tournament started on Friday. The quarters were on Saturday, the semis on Sunday, and the title on ESPN on Monday. But that changed when the MVC got all big time. The prospect of a four day bender in the Gateway to the West was more than a happy proposition for this ole gambler. So, now with my arrival, the party begins...well...f--- it...starting now. That's right. I'm sure there are enough unemployed d-bags in this city to hang out with this cane-twirlin' foo. I got a couple chips on some drunk medical students from Wash U looking to release some of that med school tension. Plus, those SLU fans gotta be upset with that loss to Xavier. Drinking shall reign over!
However, I must pace myself. Usually, our Aces would lose on Thursday night and I'd be highballing by 11 p.m. The weekend would end with me wrapped around the Musial statue with all my money gone, or I'd be stuck on the boardwalk begging for change! Not this year, my friends! My Aces are big time! We dodged the preliminary matchup, and we're playing in the big time slot at 2:30 p.m on Friday. We've got those paper-making rednecks from Terre Haute to worry about; the shit smelling Bird-worshippers also known as Indiana State.
Now, I could go on for my ISU Blue hate, but I'm gonna save it until Friday afternoon. I know this much...by Friday's happy hour, I'll be swearing at that Amish looking Odum kid like a Navy sailor, or I'll be stirring my drank with my long cane inside a fine St. Louis establishment.
I have no enemies in this city. It's like the cheap version of New Orleans; only the crack is easier to get. Hey, there! This guy don't smoke that stuff! I keep it clean! This pipe only sees the finest tobacco, this mouth only takes in the finest scotch, and my hands only play with the finest...hands...of poker...I'll work on that last part.
The prospect of a deep run for our Aces is scary. This means that I'll actually have to be sober on Friday, Saturday, and possibly Sunday afternoon! I know, I know...we're technically a Methodist school. Yup, the same religion that helped form the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Good for them. That was in Evanston. This is St. Louis. Tell the pastor I'm Catholic for the weekend, I converted. John Wesley can kiss my ass for four days. There. It felt good to say that.
Just as a warning to the rest of you MVC fans that might see me on the Boardwalk, up by SLU, on the riverboat, or hustling some people by the river...just remember that we are one this weekend. I love our conference. Just some simple things to not bring up. I've got one for each school:
1) Creighton, If you're a CU male student, just understand that your entire female fan base is fair game. Plus, it's Lent. You and the rest of your Catholic school folks aren't supposed to gorge. Jesus said that. Trust me. He did. Just give me the rest of your beer and I'll keep this cane away from your girl.
2) Bradley, you're women are prude, your male fans are arrogant, and your elderly fan base still thinks it's the 1954 NCAA Title Game and they can still get by La Salle and that pesty Tom Gola. Please don't talk with me unless you want me to tip my hat...and kick your ass.
3) Northern Iowa, you've always been good to me. But, please, don't offer me any more Busch Light. Step up your game, guys. Jesus, after all those tournament victories you'd think you'd grow up!
4) Drake, if I don't see those hockey uniforms on your band, I'll be happy. If not, it's gonna be hell. I'll be meeting all of you in the parking lot.
5) Illinois State, I know it's been a long time since you've guys have been in the tournament. Even longer than us...hold on...I'm just gonna let that sink in for a second...wow...bwahahahahah....holy hell, I can't stop laughing...now I forgot what I was going to say. Oh. Yeah. Bring the women.
6) Wichita State, Listen you redneck Obama-hating Klansmen: If I see any of you bumblebeed fans even looking in my general direction, I will bury you with my laser eyes. If I see you at a card table, I'll make sure you're bled to nothingness. I hope you're eliminated in the quarterfinals so I can watch your entire obese, yellow-lipped, Xavier McDaniel-loving fanbase trudge their heavy asses to the nearest Golden Corral. I'll pay the $10 just to watch you cry in agony over the chocolate fountain.
7) Missouri State, you guys are the ones who know the city better than anyone. That's why I treat you guys so well. Just remember, if you see me, point me towards the arch. If I walk in that direction, I can find my riverboat. Or buy me a beer. You guys have been wonderful at doing both; God bless you.
8) Southern Illinois, wuddddupppp!!!! Ayyyyyyyyy!!!!! Let's stahhhtttt the pahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhddddaaaaaaaaayyyy! It bothers me that you guys are yet again in the preliminary round and could be eliminated as early as Thursday. However, the prospect of your fan base not having any distractions bodes well for me. I expect the finest smokes, AND I expect that we'll be kicking it outside some local casino at 7 a.m. drunk as skunks. You people never fail me. Never. May God bless you and keep you.
9) Indiana State, I've made my rules clear. Your town smells like my ass does...correction...it smells like my ass after three days of running without showering...correction...three days of rain without showering while shitting myself several times. And your fan base smells worse. Stay away or feel my wrath.
That's it. See you all by the boat, in the casino, in the bar, or at your nearest hotel room with a nice young lady.
The Ace hath spoken.
Let the games begin.