I am somewhat obsessed with sports. I like all of them (except soccer and hockey) to some degree. But my favorite sports season is “March Madness.” I think that is actually a copyrighted phrase, but I can get away with it because I’m a columnist. If not, Bill Lawson will pay the fine.
There are so many fun things about March Madness, one of the main ones being “bracketology.” Everyone picks his winning teams all the way to the Final Four and then picks the winning team and a score. There are even wagers on these brackets, big buck wagers. I received my first bracket from CBS Sports last week. Of course, many of the games are on CBS. You fill it out and they send you reports of how you’re doing.
I also love college baseball season, particularly Razorback baseball. Last year’s journey to the College World Series was as exciting as any sports event since the Arkansas national basketball championship victory over Duke in 1994.
I also enjoy following my 9-year-old grandson’s baseball team, the Maumelle Bulldogs. They are a traveling team, so we get the “opportunity” to go all over the place to watch him play. My 5-year-old grandson will soon be starting T-ball season, which is somewhat like watching a cat herd.
Baseball — and sports in general — are great for kids. They provide exercise, team-building skills, respect for authority, sportsmanship and a chance to “win” at something. Yes, I am proponent of winning. I think it’s a lesson that will pay off many times down the road. Most of us are put in positions of having to win at something, whether it’s a promotion at work or competing for a contract or new client.
But back to March Madness. I love the fact that you get 64 teams that are pared down to 32, 16, 8, and then 4 just in a few weeks. The last-second shots, the big upsets, the momentary brush with glory are too hard to resist. I find myself rooting for teams that I have no connection with whatsoever. Everybody loves the underdog.
There is somewhat of a letdown after March Madness with only college and professional baseball left on the sports calendar till the fall. Oh yeah, I forgot about NBA basketball. I don’t watch it, although I saw one game in person and it is much more fun in person than watching it on TV.
Most of us will have to find someone to root for in the NCCA tourney, because the Razorbacks will go the NIT at best or stay home. As I finish this, my prediction is coming true. Vanderbilt is beating us and we have to go home early. We may even be passed over for an NIT appearance the way we are playing. Go Blue Devils!
When I was a kid, all anybody cared about was football and you could only listen to the Hog teams on radio. They might be on TV once or twice a year and it was usually Arkansas versus Texas or a bowl game.
We would get physically ill and cry when the Hogs lost. It would take days to get over the loss. Now, I can usually get over it in about 10 minutes.
When I coached baseball and basketball, I would take losses hard and pregame preparation caused me to be a jittery mess, waking up in the middle of the night over- thinking my strategy. Most of the time, it was a lot of stress for no reason.
I remember my biggest lesson as a coach. I was screaming at my kids and possibly taking it a bit too seriously. The referee stopped the game and slowly walked over to my bench and said “ Coach, this is third grade.” I turned beet red and quieted down. A lot.
See you on the Boulevard. Or at the Big Dance.
Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.