March and April are my favorite months of the year for one reason and one reason only–the climax of the college basketball season.
During these months, my emotions take a 180 degree turn at the snap of a finger. As I watched the Kansas Jayhawks defeat the Memphis Tigers to win the 2008 NCAA National Championship in San Antonio from my dorm room in Indianola, I was nearly brought to tears with the playing of “One Shining Moment,” CBS’s annual tribute to the tournament.
I experienced these jumbled emotions less than 24 hours after being in the same city as the Final Four took place. From Thursday through Saturday I was in the center of the basketball universe around some of the brightest minds and most talented athletes the game has to offer. I had the privilege to be somewhat up close and personal with All-American characters like ‘Gody,’ ‘Psycho’ and ‘B-Easy,’ and shake the hands of superb coaches such as ‘Keno,’ ‘Roy’ and ‘JTIII.’
As a veteran of the last five Final Fours, I have noticed three distinct classifications of people who attend. There are the fans. Then there are the coaches from hundreds of schools wearing their appropriately-logoed mesh polo shirts. Then we have the media. One of my favorite parts of going to the Final Four is watching ESPN’s College GameDay filmed live. I have a supreme interest in either coaching or becoming a member of the media in the future.
I have gone the last five years with my cousins and my uncle, a former head coach for the University of Nebraska-Omaha and still-active member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
We go to events like the NABC All-Star Game and Slam Dunk/3 Point Shootout. The practices for all four teams are also open to the public. However, for those non-hoops diehards, there are other activities such as concerts which were showcased this year by Kid Rock and Fall Out Boy.
Because of the various activities going on-basketball and otherwise- and the general atmosphere, I believe the Final Four is the best event in all of sports. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
Sometimes I feel silly for getting so worked up over a game. It still bothers me that when people ask me why I love the game so much, I can’t give them a straight answer. For some reason I have a burning passion for college basketball. It’s extremely difficult to explain or understand, but, oh boy, is it there. There is just something about it that gives me a thrill, especially this time of year.
So as I watched my Jayhawks win the chip, one of my final two college choices–I think you know what the other one was)–I went through some mixed emotions. There was joy and sadness, and uncertainty about my future. The only thing certain is that I will be involved in basketball somehow, some way. And, oh yeah, that I will be in Motown next year for the best sporting event there is.