By: Sean Sendall
And the formidable Ali Farokhmanesh.
These are merely names. Former players who are nearly insignificant in the annals of basketball history. Yet, their very names spark memories and emotions that range from despair to euphoria.
These five players shattered brackets, altered predictions, and stumped “pundits” across the country. Their memories continue to live-on every March. It’s not about the opportunity for office bragging rights or a championship belt among friends, -although both do carry some kind of je ne sais quoi that we all strive for- but rather the moments that live forever.
Admittedly, I am a basketball freak-of-nature. I watch too much. I analyze too much. I think about basketball (high school, college, and professional) way too much. It’s must-watch-television for me when North Dakota State and South Dakota State meet each year in Summit League Championship; I’m not quite sure I know anyone who has even traveled to either state, let alone someone associated with either school. So, I do realize that I am a bit out-of-touch with the Average Joe when I sit down to watch college basketball.
When millions of people leave work early on Thursday and use a much valued personal day to stay home Friday, just to watch Round 1, they will not be sitting down clutching onto their bracket and meticulously analyzing where they stand following each game. No, quite the contrary, they will be captivated by the action, competition, and athleticism.
Brackets no longer mattered when, in 2013, Florida Gulf Coast flew across the television, dunking with ease, dominating the second seeded Georgetown Hoyas. Nor did they matter when, for the first time in tournament history, two 15 seeds took down the two seeds Duke and Missouri in 2012. CJ McCollum and Lehigh proved they could take down the mighty Blue Devils, while Norfolk State was not about to be outdone, sneaking by the Tigers by two points.
The dust will settle and brackets will have been busted, there is no doubting that, but it’s the memories created that will last a lifetime. Those memories will ignite varying emotions and, while bragging rights may fall by the wayside, there is only one event each year that you can look back on and feel such contrasting emotions, repeatedly, for four straight days.
March Madness is here; the best time of year on the sports calendar. A competition unlike anything else; how could you not just sit back and enjoy?
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