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Glad to be Mad
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2006, 11:07 AM
by Beano
There are sports I like better than College Basketball. College Football will always occupy the vast majority of my heartís real estate. Baseball was the sport of my non-descript athletic career so I can understand, relate to, and project myself into, a Major League Baseball game easier than other athletic events. My new-found love of fantasy sports combined with the Colts return to prominence has rekindled my childhood affection for the NFL. There are none however whose post-season I anxiously anticipate or enjoy more than the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It encompasses everything that is fascinating about sports in one blockbuster event. It inspires eagerness and debate with its intriguing selection process. Itís David vs Goliath, North vs South, East vs West, half court sets vs 40 minutes of hell, and blow-by-blow vs blow-by. Above all else itís winner-play-on; loser-be-gone. Once the tourney cranks up on Thursday (sorry Monmouth and Hampton fans) 10 of the next 19 days will provide 63 must-win matchups. The beauty of the tournament is its seemingly relentless finality.

You know how you judge a great event? Itís one that occupies your mind and rouses your senses without your favorite teamís involvement or after their elimination. No other sporting event holds that allure for me but the Big Dance. That being said itís amazing how much more intense, gratifying, and stimulating it becomes when your team appears on the ďbig dance cardĒ. Itís been too long since the Big Orange Nation joined as one for a midday-midweek work stoppage. Well get ready bosses commerce is about to come to a screeching halt on Thursday.

What difference does your teamís inclusion matter if the tournament thrills you either way? I think Sports Parlor South and local sports talk show contributor Magnum described it much more astutely than I could in a call to Tony on ďThe EdgeĒ last week when saying ďitís hard to put together an NIT Selection show partyĒ. The key is when your teamís name is revealed on Selection Sunday youíre transformed from enjoying the event individually to sharing the excitement as a throng. Everything is multiplied and magnified. Itís a good form of mob mentality.

I know personally Iím more anxious for the ball to be thrown up than I have been for some time. If the CBS/ESPN self-appointed savants (Special thanks to Todd. Now that I know what it means I can use it sarcastically against others) rip a team for too high a seed Iím glad itís MY team . If Iím going to watch the event from Noon until 1AM Iím glad the VOLS will be in the TV listing. If Iím to once again look like a fool for advancing a team too far in the bracket it might as well be MY team. March Madness is once again upon us and itís thrilling that we have an emotional investment in the lunacy. I think we could get used to a little personal insanity every March donít you?

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Knoxville, TN
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