The last two weeks, my life has basically been consumed with ValleyWho -- the March Madness-style online tournament that we bloggers at fresnobeehive.com created to crown the Valley's most beloved local icon.
Much like the NCAA's current basketball tournaments, we started with a field of 64 and round by round whittled away the competitors (via online votes) until we were left with just two.
People such as Kevin Federline, Timmy T and Pat Hill fell quickly. Folks such as Al Radka, Bob Mathias and Bobby Salazar had nice runs.
But now we're down to just two. And many voters were stunned by the finalists: Chris Colfer, the "Glee" star from Clovis, and Ryan Beatty, the 16-year pop-star-on-the-rise whom many people compare to Justin Bieber. They defeated, respectively, Audra McDonald and William Saroyan.
The voting in the final round ended last night and the winner will be announced Saturday at Beehive Birthday 7, happening at 6:30 p.m. at Rotary Playland.
On this ValleyWho "dead day," I decided to take some time to reflect on what I've learned following the votes, results and chatter that accompanied the tournament.
-- Young people certainly are good at online voting. Both Colfer and Beatty have sizable online followings. It's shouldn't be a surprise that these two made the finals -- "Glee" is super popular and one should never underestimate the fervor of teenage girls when it comes to musicians they admire.
-- People love William Saroyan. And not just because they should. I was surprised to see the breadth of local folks -- from various backgrounds and age groups -- who supported Saroyan. They weren't able to defeat Beatty and his army of online followers, but if nothing else, ValleyWho proved that people do indeed treasure Saroyan.
-- Some voters took this game way more seriously than I thought they would. That's not a bad thing. Just surprising. As one of the people who dreamed this up, it was totally about fun for me. The idea of people having to choose between Bobby Salazar and Audra McDonald amused me in a wonderful apples-to-oranges kind of way. So for anybody upset that a 16-year-old with 200,000-plus Twitter followers beat William Saroyan, just remember -- it's all just a fun game.
-- The game was a great learning opportunity. Many readers were impressed and surprised to see the depth of accomplished folks linked to the Valley. And I was impressed to learn about new people who weren't on our list, but readers let us know about. As a transplant to the Valley, I learned a lot.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, email@example.com
or @mikeoz on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com. Listen to his radio show on New Rock 104.1 at 9 p.m. Sund