March Madness is upon us and my Tarheels (men’s division) are in the Sweet 16.
College basketball makes the world go round. I can still recall certain games and plays from the last couple decades, putting me in a unique category. Two of my family members went to NC State for engineering. I ended up going to UNC-Chapel Hill to be a liberal arts major. As a child, my dad and/or uncle would have a six pack of beer and I would have a six pack of mini-assorted-yoghurts and we would watch as young boys cried when they lost. This is why college basketball is better than professional basketball. It’s so much more emotional. Associated traveling sports band members cry; the cheerleaders cry. (They’re not making millions upon millions annually playing ball).
Ages later, young people still cry when their team falls out of “the big dance”. Tears flow as the number of teams goes from 64 to 32 to 16 to The Elite Eight to The Final Four, you get it.
When I traveled to Croatia alone at the age of 21, I met two guys- Goran Lerner and Goran Zielinski. Why? Because we talked about basketball. There was a Croatian team member on the Washington Bullets. They too knew much about college ball. I cannot find these two Gorans online, so if anyone knows them- send them my way. They were in the town of Split. They made sure I didn’t get kidnapped the whole week I was there alone. They took me to see the film Titanic in Croatian. Knowing about college basketball made my solo trip to then new and strange Eastern European country not at all lonely.
In the large cities in which I’ve lived, I’ve been fortunate to bond with other sports fans from my alma mater. We yell at television sets together during games and eat junk food. It’s really cathartic. We comfort each other after losses. The losses get a whole lot easier.
Me on the left with gal pal basketball fanatics Kendra and Billie. You know what they say about #CarolinaGirls (women)… Here we are in the front row at The Staples Center for our team’s dunk contest.
Are you another woman who’s into March Madness? Has it made any impact upon your life and who do you have winning the whole bracket?