Today might be my most favorite day to watch sports – the first day of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I don’t care who you root for, which school you attended for college, or who is playing. Today comprises the absolute best of college athletics. Football, my most favorite sport, cannot touch the enjoyment I get from the first day of the Tourney.
Who will win? I have no clue. What I do know is that almost every game played today will be exciting. Sure, some of them, typically your Number 1 seeds vs Number 16 seeds, will be boring blowouts. Overall though, each game will have highs and lows. Upsets will happen. Brackets will be busted. And all of it puts a HUGE smile on my face.
I don’t normally watch college basketball. Today is different. I will watch as many games as I can during this amazing kickoff day. Historically I’ve taken a half-day and enjoyed the first afternoon of March Madness from the comfort of a sports bar somewhere. Eating wings. Drinking beer. Marking up my bracket. Wishing I’d made some different choices. Not this year. This year I’m firmly ensconced at my desk, watching the online stream from CBS Sports. You know what? Other than the lack of beer and waitresses in short skirts and tight tops, it’s not terrible. I was worried I’d miss the true Madness, but I feel the fever growing – even while at work.
My one complaint about today is that they force Duke on us. Duke is the one and only college basketball team I cannot stand and actively cheer against. The announcers on CBS are so active in their pro-Duke positions that it takes an extreme effort to subject myself to that broadcast. Then, you get the referees who have yet to see Duke commit any sort of foul while making sure that Duke’s opponent gets called for looking funny at a Duke player. The second best day of the NCAA Tournament is the day Duke loses and it’s confirmed that they will not win another Championship. Why don’t I like them? As if the CBS-homers and referee bias aren’t enough, it’s their smugness that turns me off. They’re the New England Patriots fans of college basketball. Just horrible, horrible people who should not be aloud to integrate with the rest of society.
Now, back to more reasonable thoughts. Today I’m cheering for every underdog possible, even if they kill my bracket. The 15 seed overcoming huge odds is what makes today so great. By tomorrow it will have lost some of the impact, the glow is off the gem as it were. Will I watch? Certainly! But not with so much passion. Plus, by that point I’m fairly certain I’ll have zero shot of winning my pool. Where’s the fun in that?