March has always been a wonderful month in my heart, because it’s when my favorite sports pastime is embraced by the masses (be it for good reasons or just an urge to gamble/win) and college basketball takes over the Thursday-Sunday news.
While the tournament was always there, it only took on a super special meaning after I started to avidly play basketball. So I remember all of the drama around “the shot” in 1992 by the power forward that I so admired, Christian Laettner. In 1995, I ran to my bedroom to get my UCLA teddy bear during a time out to clutch tightly while Tyus Edney ran the length of the court to make a layup in 4.8 seconds. And when UCLA made ended that season with a championship, it pretty much secured my love affair with the school and I never let up my sights until I got that acceptance letter in the spring of 1998.
But since then, college basketball has become so much more to me. It’s a common memory to share with old friends that shared the bench seats in Pauley with me or a great talking point for new friends that come around. No matter what team you’re cheering for, you can talk about each year’s NCAA tournament because everyone is watching every team.
It’s the signal that Spring is just around the corner, and there’s truly no sports to obsess about for the entire length of spring and summer.
And really, it’s just a source of happy memories and happy times. From my high school friends who would record and watch VHS game tapes over and over again, to experiencing the highs and lows close-at-hand as an employee in the Morgan Center, to college bffs that love every moment of the madness as you do, and family members that scream louder than you and beat you to the punch of ordering tickets from craigslist or eBay. (Did you know my mom has been to more Sweet 16’s than me… so not fair)
Oh… and there’s that guarantee to get in a really really good happy cry at the start of April when the last shot goes through the hoop and they cram together a bunch of insane highs/lows into one epic video montage known as “One Shining Moment.”
March is the best kind of madness there is.