As we approach the magical March moment, when winter turns to spring, snow melts, and spring zephyrs blow the office door shut behind us, we rush to watch Teddy Valentine float a Wilson official game ball between the outstretched arms of Dukies and Seahawks and rejoice in basketball, beer, and wings, a veritable weekend of debauchery.
We’ve studied the brackets. We’ve picked our upsets and hope that we’ve nailed the Final Four. But we’ve only watched our favorite team and know next to nothing outside of our time zone and conference.
So it is time to clasp hands, lower eyes to our Chuck Taylors, and pray.
Dear heavenly John Wooden,
We ask that you share your grace during these high holy days.
We pause to honor those who have instilled this month with its madness:
We toast U.S. Reed and Al McGuire.
We salute Earvin Magic Johnson and Larry Joe Bird.
We fondly recall Bryce Drew’s Pacer and Jim Valvano’s victory lap.
We shed a tear over Bo Kimble’s left-handed free throw and Gene Keady’s right-handed combover.
We remember Keith Smart’s make and Gordon Hayward’s miss.
We wish Robbie Hummel had just one more year of eligibility,
And we pine for the days when shorts were short and officials made out of bounds calls without huddling over a monitor.
On this, the 50th Anniversary of UTEP beating Kentucky, and the 40th anniversary of Quinn Buckner’s undefeated victory shuffle, we put our full faith and confidence in the ability of Tom Crean—just a sec, I mean, Yogi Ferrell—to lead us past the heathen Wildcats.
We ask that AJ Hammons find a way to Joe Barry Carroll us to the Final Four.
We ask that Roosevelt Jones improbably snake his way to the bucket and leads the Bulldogs to the Sweet Sixteen.
Let us welcome back Jim Boeheim and find it in our hearts to believe Rick Pitino.
We bid adieu to the backcourt of Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker.
We wonder how many years Perry Ellis is going to play before his men’s league realizes he’s missing.
We question if Oregon is really a #1 because we’ve never heard of Dillon Brooks.
But we appreciate St. Joe’s DeAndre’ Bremby, he of the magnificent afro and vestigial apostrophe.
So as we ride along with Spike, Chuck, and Sam toward Houston, let us remember why we love the tournament.
It was Phi Slamma Jamma, the Running Rebels, and the Hoyas.
It was the full court rushes of Danny Ainge and Tyus Edney.
It was even Bill Walton, but please, please, please don’t let him near a microphone.
As the teams take the floor, we thank the bartender for putting our team on the biggest screen. We thank our children for just this once, playing in a non-structured, unsupervised manner. We clutch our brackets and when the boss calls, we invoke the words of the immortal Norman Dale, and say to any and all who ask why we aren’t at work, we say, my team is on the floor.
My team is on the floor.
Photo by brandi sims from madison, alabama, usa (blue converse) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.