It’s that time of the year again! The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins on March 15. I love everything about it– the hype, the Cinderella stories, the melodramatic montages of tournaments past complete with triumphant music better suited for war movies. Well, I should say I love almost everything. The one exception is the obligatory clip of THE SHOT that forever traumatized the entire fan base of University of Kentucky basketball. Seriously, ask any Kentucky basketball fan if they remember where they were or what they were doing in 1992 when it happened. They can tell you. Me? I was in my living room, jumping around and hootin’ and hollerin’ when suddenly it felt like the wind got knocked out of me. It was total silence and then POP! An egg I had put on the stove to boil and forgotten about, exploded, as the water had completely boiled away. It was as if the egg represented the hopes and dreams of the National Title. It was a very deep and profound moment. I really hate having to relive THAT every stinkin’ year.
In the past few years, I haven’t been keeping up with basketball. I moved from Kentucky, where college basketball is as natural and necessary as breathing, to Georgia, where football is king. I haven’t had cable, satellite, or the internet so I couldn’t even watch the Wildcats. By the time the tournament rolled around, I couldn’t even name any of the players. It’s painful to think about. But now, I’m back and it’s wonderful. All that’s missing are my fellow citizens of the Big Blue Nation to share it with, although Facebook has provided a virtual sense of camaraderie, replete with status updates of “C-A-T-S! CATS! CATS! CATS!” and “Go Big Blue” or “Bullcrap call.”
Fortunately, I’m going to have a real live Kentucky basketball fan with me for the first (and hopefully the second) UK tournament game. My daddy is coming for a visit. We’re going to watch the Cats play on my 55- inch HDTV,eat bar food, and scream together. I can’t wait. In the mean time, I’m going to fill out my bracket, plan the menu, and try to contain my excitement. March Madness is definitely in the air.
“They had it before you, they had it during you, they’ll have it when you’re gone”….” – Al McGuire on Kentucky Basketball Tradition