Ruminations on the Final Four and the Myth of Chicago Jerry

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thanks to the graciousness of my good friend Kelly and the kind people at the CBS television network, I just returned from New Orleans where I attended my 11th Final Four in the last 15 years.

In many ways, the Final Four is much like the SHRM Annual Conference:
  • Lots of talk about talent - Like SHRM, there is a lot of discussion of talent.  In this case, the teams playing.  Will Kentucky easily dispatch its opponents (YES!).  Who will be loaded next year? Is one and done good for the business?
  • There's recruiting - in this case, the Final Four represents a huge market for coaches, as many assistants look to make the jump to a head coaching position
  •  The parties - instead of Monster. com throwing a bask with Natasha Beningfield, Turner/CBS threw two private shows with Kid Rock and Sammy hagar
  • Celebrity sightings - At SHRM, it might be OMG...there's The Cyncial Girl, Laurie Ruettimann.  At the Final Four, it was Leo DiCaprio in our suite (where he soon was whisked by Kid Rock to the suite next door) or Lil Wayne a few suites down.
  • Networking - Like SHRM, the Final Four is an opportunity to catch up and talk with people you may have not seen the event the previous year.
Which brings to Chicago Jerry. 

Who is he?  I don't know.  Why is he called "Chicago Jerry?" Your guess is as good as mine

Does he deal in imports and exports?  Is he a superagent to the stars?  Is he a small businessman from Poughkeepsie who simply loves basketball?  I don't know.  However, much like Bill Brasky, we have come to believe Chicago Jerry "can eat anything, can tolerate any amount of drugs and alcohol, is superhumanly tough, possesses a variety of other superhuman powers, has cheated death on numerous occasions, has no regard for the well-being of others, and has caused the death and maiming of many people."  No one dares talk to him for fear of ruining his near mythic status.

 Since attending my first Final Four in 1999, one of the constants has always been the presence of Chicago Jerry.  In some years, he would be among the first people I'd see as I walked into the hotel lobby.  In other years, it might be a couple of days, but Jerry would inevitably turn up.  This year?  Jerry was absent.  Days had passed and no one had sighted Jerry.  Then, with mere hours to go before heading to the airport, we were merrily cruising down Canal Street and there was Jerry.

Another Final Four is in the books, and it simply wouldn't be the same without Chicago Jerry.  I raise my glass and say, "To Chicago Jerry."

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