Posted on 20. Mar, 2009 by in NCAA Basketball.

 

I have admitted to anyone that asks I usually prefer a good professional baseball game over college basketball, but nothing and I mean NOTHING is better than the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. I would even go as far as to say I enjoy the opening round better than the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.  Cinderella’s are made and great stories created during the first round of the Big Dance.

When I was younger, I looked forward to my mother writing me a note to excuse me from school at around 11:30 on the Thursday of the opening games so I can come home and plant in front of the TV.  Tons of memories come to mind, like 1994, when I sat in front of my den TV from opening tip around noon until almost 2:00 AM when the Bearcats dropped a heartbreaker to Wisconsin.  The games I have watched on TV are countless and memorable, but nothing tops being there in person.
In the eighth grade I was fortunate enough to meet the tall skinny new kid who moved to Cincinnati from Rhode Island. Not really sure how it came to be, but Dan and I clicked almost to well.  It felt like a “man date” when he asked me to join his family at the movies to see Jurassic Park.  But when it came to NCAA Basketball, Dan was my right hand man.

When Dan and I hit high school we started a tradition that lasted quite a few years, until jobs and the real world got in the way.  When the brackets were released, Dan and I would gather and pick some sites that were within about eight hours that we could drive to. We would pack the car with drinks and a few bags of Starburst and off we were.
I still get goose bumps when the opening tap happens on the first day, but there is nothing like being in attendance for all four games of an opening round.  One that sticks out is when Dan and I traveled to Rupp Arena.  After the first two games of the afternoon session, we walked to the adjacent mall, and gathered around a small TV with hundreds of others to watch Bryce Drew of Valpo hit the game winner against Mississippi.  No one there really cared who won the game, but the thrill and excitement of the ending had the place going bananas.  Sure most root for the underdog, but the uncertainty adds to the mystique.  To top that off, we walked back into Rupp arena to watch the night session.
Dan and I have been too many games, attending everything from the first round to the Elite 8 together in numerous cities including Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Knoxville, Indianapolis, Dayton and a few more.  Thankfully other friends of mine have joined us along the way and experienced what it is truly like and what the Madness is all about.
As Butler and LSU tipped off today, I sent Dan a text on his cell phone, “Totally should be a National Holiday…hope someday soon you and I can be sitting there for four games on the opening day again…”
Dan’s response, “I am always waiting for the call…”  Hey Dan, let’s make it happen!!!
I hope everyone enjoys this year’s tournament. Please, do not get upset if your favorite team gets knocked out or if your bracket is busted after the first day.  The NCAA Tournament is a great event and should be enjoyed by all…

One Response to “Oh What a Day!”

 
  1. ERB says:

    We know your bubble was burst already. Sorry.


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