March Madness is upon us and attempting to figure out the outcomes of these college games is mindboggling. Time marches on and so does my willingness and eagerness to achieve perfection in choosing. I never thought one time (I mean seriously) of entering the “Warren Buffet’ challenge. This billionaire is dangling a ‘billion’ dollars out there if anyone achieved the ‘perfect’ bracket. No errors, no red marks, just a bracket with no losses. I wouldn’t have lasted long as Ohio State lost to Dayton in the first round Thursday, more of my picks fell later.
I remember in early days, I followed NCAA basketball, I confess, religiously. I would read the newspaper, followed the conference standings, bought college pre-season magazines. When the sports programs such as ESPN became a reality, I followed Chris Berman and others. I was like a sponge. Today, I fill the brackets out not with the same zeal. The only time I ever won, selected the national champion, was the year that North Carolina State finished in ‘Cinderellas’ slippers with that crazy play at the finishing buzzer and the late Coach Jimmy “V” Valvano running up and down the court in a frenzied, happy jubilation. He later succumbed to cancer. From that point on, I always selected an underdog but unfortunately, the wrong underdog.
This event brings about many dazzling plays and dramatic finishes. Remember, Duke’s Christian Laettner buzzer-beater? How about Tyrus Edney’s full-court sprint for a winning, uncontestable layoff to oust Mizzou. Bryce Drew’s shot near the bench to send Valpariso to a stunning win for his father, Homer. Michael Jordan of North Carolina and Indiana’s Keith Smart corner bombs to snatch victory from the claws of defeat. How about Bill Bradley and his leadership efforts, taking a Princeton team much further in the tournament than people imagined.
Many of those stars ‘of the moment’ didn’t go on to great NBA careers but had that one, brief shining moment which became a part of the NCAA basketball lore. Many have gone to make a name for themselves and change the lives of others. Make a better world in which we live. For just a few weeks in March and early April, the nation forgets the miserable winters and filling out a bracket has become a ritual of spring. President Obama even fills out one and provides analysis of his selections. I don’t know if it an omen or curse but my Final Four is the same as he predicted.
Many consider the NCAA tournament as arguably the premier sporting event in the country with more interest than in the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup playoffs. The economic impact on the host cities is incredible.
In another subject, I went to see the movie “Son of God.” last weekend and found it to be inspiring. I wished they had held the release closer to Easter for more of an impact. Noah is to be released later this month. Perhaps Hollywood is going a different direction or just needs a financial boost. Whatever, these movies are a move in the right direction.
By Bob Simmons