Friday, March 22, 2013

While Watching the Basketball

Hour after hour of young men in shorts tossing an orange ball through a hoop may not be everyone's idea of heaven, but, for our family, there's no better time of the year.  The boys were on the phone all afternoon, my inbox is full of Reply All messages cheering and jeering, and I left the CTGMF Spring Training Dodgers v Cubs game at Kino Stadium today at the seventh inning stretch to be home in time for Arizona's first game.

I did stay to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
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There are lots of empty green seats in the arena; apparently, the Gonzaga fans didn't stick around for the second game.  It's basketball's version of all-dressed-up-and-nobody-watching. I have to think that those tickets could have been put to good use, somehow.  There has to be a Boys and Girls Club that would have been delighted to use them for this game.
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There are four regions in the tournament..  It's odd to think of Harvard playing in the West, but it's just wrong that the Palace of Auburn Hills, in Michigan, is hosting the South this year. California is playing UNLV in San Jose, California.  That's where the East is holding its first round.

Doesn't anybody at the NCAA look at a map?
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We've got a lot of skin in these games, with one kid a Hoosier and the other a Hoya. The Bride and The Pharmacist are Jayhawks, and TBG and I have to express some allegiance to our hometown Wildcats.

Still, nothing comes close to the connection I felt in the late 1970's to the DePaul Blue Demons.  They practiced and played in a small gym two blocks from our apartment; we'd walk down the street and see the game.  Kids could shoot baskets during half-times.  The boys were local heroes, and we followed their every move, even as they disappointed us, year after year.

Sometimes, it hurts to be a true fan.
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ESPN.com makes comparing our brackets a much simpler task than it used to be.  Still, I print them all out every year.  TBG is using the magnifying glass to read them right now.

We used to take them out of the newspaper.  The brackets were printed on the centerfold of the tabloids, or on a full page of the many-folded NYTimes.  Those words were much easier to read, and we were much younger, then.  It just doesn't seem fair that the type is smaller as my eyes get weaker.
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I missed the Oregon game.  That did not disappoint me. My eyes are still recovering from the last time I saw them.  They were wearing neon green - shoes, socks (some thigh high), tops and shorts.  And the shorts did not stop there - there was a camouflage pattern embedded within the screaming greenness.

It was really hard to watch.

I'm not averse to bright colors.  Missouri's bright yellow shirts, shorts, and shoes just make me smile.
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"Excessive, severe or extreme contact" is being discussed after a California player took an elbow to the face.

An Arizona player mouthed off and received a technical in the first minutes of their first game.

Being a referee is a lot like being a mom.  "Not so hard!" "Watch your mouth!"
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The announcer just described the Wildcats as being "a team with ADHD," a statement which, while unfair to those who are truly diagnosed, is a fairly accurate representation of their performance all season.  They really do have a hard time paying attention all the way through a game.

On the other hand, he went on to say that if they played the way they played tonight, when they played well, they can beat any team in the country. And that's what my boys have been saying all season long; there is such parity in college basketball that any team on any night can take it all away.

That's the real fun of March Madness, after all.
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There is so much twirling and touching and rolling and bouncing before a free throw is taken that I'm getting vaguely seasick watching the end of the Cal/UNLV game.  The boys who look at the basket and bend their knees rarely miss.

They may not look as cool, but they rarely miss.
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I picked New Mexico but I'm not too sad to see Harvard leading in the first half.  Their center has four fouls in this same first half, and he just lost his shoe running for the ball.  I'm not too worried.
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The Arizona players were in the stands for the Harvard/New Mexico game.  That made sense; they will meet the winner on Saturday.  I was complaining to TBG that the boys were playing on their cell phones instead of scouting their opponents when the announcer made the same point.

I felt special.
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With four and a half minutes left, Harvard is up by 6 and then the game ends and Harvard beats New Mexico for their first post season victory ... ever.

My soul is happy, though my bracket is weeping.
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