The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Madness, I Tell You, MADNESS!

It all started in 1998 when Bryce Drew and his twinkling blue eyes hit a magical three-pointer, suddenly making tiny Valpo a school people outside of Indiana had heard of.

As a child, I remember being tremendously put out every time March roared in and Mom overruled the objections of two whiny kids and devoted our one television to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I never understood why anyone thought basketball was more interesting than, say, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

I do now.

From the first tip to One Shining Moment, I am a crazed tourney-addict. For one thing, it is a marvelous way to fill in the gap between the Super Bowl and Opening Day (the Olympics also helped this year, but that’s a once-every-four-years occurrence). But mostly, March Madness is a wondrous thing because in no other sport do Americans of all races, ages, and even genders find themselves pulling with every ounce of their souls for a school they’ve never heard of and couldn’t find on a map if they had a gun to their head (here’s looking at you, Murray State).* The NBA does not offer this, neither does college football. I can’t actually think of another sport so built for thrill and so conducive to the glorious underdog story.

*In fact, most of my highschool U.S. geography was learned in March, when Mom pulled out the encyclopedia to look up the location of all the tiny schools we suddenly cared deeply about.

Ah, the underdog! – my favorite part of sports. And this is the only time of year when muscular young men can call themselves fairy tale heroines and discuss fitting into high-heeled women’s shoes and no one thinks it’s strange.

I mention all that to say this: yesterday, March 18, 2010, was perhaps the single greatest and most exciting day in my basketball-watching life. No fewer than 5 double digit seeds pulled off dramatic upsets, several of which I predicted! (No, I did NOT see coming the absolute thumping lowly Ohio put on Georgetown.)

So thank you, Old Dominion, St. Mary's, Ohio, Murray State, Washington and Northern Iowa.* And good on ya Robert Morris, even though you couldn’t beat both Villanova AND the refs, you played like a true Cinderella.

*A 9 seed, but the winners of Arch Madness, played in my hometown.

Every year, I watch because of kids like you – kids with enough heart and gumption to take down bigger, richer, more talented teams.

Thank you.

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.


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