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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness of the Basketball Kind

This month we've been talking about "March Madness" of all kinds. I've always associated that term with basketball because I love college basketball and look forward to the NCAA basketball tournament every year. I love to watch the games, and I can catch up on my ironing while I watch. In fact, I just finished making my bracket picks for the tournament. I know they are probably all wrong, but every year, I hope I've picked enough winners to win the pool. My best showing has been third place. Even though I picked the winner of last year's tournament, I didn't pick enough winners in the earlier rounds. So I failed to place.

As I got ready to write this blog, I wondered how the term "March Madness" originated. I discovered that Henry V. Porter, a teacher and coach at Athens High School in central Illinois, coined the term when he wrote an essay that was published in 1939 in the Illinois High School Athlete.

In the essay, he described a basketball fan. I could see myself in his description. (I just have to change the "he" to a "she.")

I've quoted a portion of the essay below.

"In everyday life he is a sane and serious individual trying to earn enough to pay his taxes. But he does a Jekyll-Hyde act when the spell is on him. He likes his coffee black and his basketball highly spiced. He despises the stall — unless his team is ahead. It is a major crime for the official to call a foul on the dribbler — unless the opponent was dribbling. His moods are as changeable as the March wind. He flies into a frenzy at some trivial happening on the court and before his vocal expression of disapproval is half completed he howls in delight at the humorous twist of a comment from a bleacher wit. He is part of the mass mind and is subject to its whims. He berates the center for attempting a long shot and lauds him when it goes in the basket. He is consistent only in his inconsistencies.

The thud of the ball on the floor, the slap of hands on leather, the swish of the net are music in his ears. He is a connoisseur in matters pertaining to team coordination and artistry in action. The shifting zone, the screen and the spot pass are an open book to him. He speaks the language.

He is biased, noisy, fidgety, boastful and unreasonable — but we love him for his imperfections. His lack of inhibitions adds a spontaneity that colors the tournaments. Without darkness there would be no light. A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.

The writer's temperature is rising. The thing is catching. It's got me! Gimme that playing schedule!"

Are there any other female basketball fans out there? If so, who do you want to win?

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At 9:41 AM, Blogger Patricia W. said...

Woo-hoo! One of my favorite times of the sporting year!

I've got Syracuse to take it all.

But this year, March Madness takes on new meaning. In addition to going to the SEC tournament for the first time and picking my bracket, I'm also polishing my wip to enter two contests with March 31st deadlines. One asks for 15 pages and a one-page synopsis; the other, 30 pages and a two-page synopsis. Different formatting requirements. So I need two very different entries. Argghhhh!

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Glad to see some other basketball fans out there. We have some good friends who are big Syracuse fans. I picked Pittsburgh to win it all. My heart is really with Wake Forest, but they've been so inconsistent this year that I just couldn't see them winning it all. If they did, I wouldn't even care that my picks were wrong.

Good luck on the contests.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Having attended UCLA during the Wooden years, Yes I'm a Basketball Fan.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Pro said...

My Hokies will face a Wake Forest team that has reached No. 1 by producing the best start in school history and passing a few tests already this season.

Since Jan. 3, the Demon Deacons have ended BYU's national-record home win streak, knocked off third-ranked North Carolina, thumped Boston College by 20 points on the road and ended No. 10 Clemson's undefeated run with a 78-68 road victory Saturday.

The win over the Tigers combined with Pittsburgh's loss at Louisville on the same day pushed Wake Forest to No. 1 for the first time since Chris Paul helped the Demon Deacons occupy the top spot from Nov. 22-29, 2004.

Watch NCAA Basketball Online

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

I love basketball. Haven't been watching much this year though.

Love John Wooden!

Good luck, Patricia, with those contests!!! I hope you final in both!

Pro, good luck with your team!

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

How cool that you were at UCLA during the Wooden years. I doubt that any team will ever do as well as UCLA did back then. I think there is a lot more parity in the sport these days. You never know which team might come out in the end. So far I'm 1 for 3 in my picks. That's a pretty sorry start.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Interesting stats about Wake Forest, but it sounds like old news. Wake got off to a great start, but faltered through the season as they lost to the Hokies, Georgia Tech and NC State. Although I picked the Deacons to win the first couple of rounds, I wouldn't be surprised it they lost. It just depends on which team decides to show up. I think Jeff Teague has lost a bit of confidence that he had earlier in the year.

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Merilee, the game has changed since those days -- much of it due to the Bruins overwhelming dominance. Back then, there were no shot clocks (the only defense that 'almost' worked was the stall), and no 3 point shots, and no slam dunks. And no long, baggy shorts!

Unfortunately, living in Florida, we rarely get to see the UCLA games.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

LOL - that was a fun read. I enjoy the Final four, but that is one very exciting sport.

BTW - we missed you in jacksonville last weekend, but talked about you. In a good way. "g"

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

You'll have to take in a few of the tournament games. These first rounds are sometimes very lopsided. But there were a couple of close ones this afternoon. I'm 5 for 7. I had a bit of a scare early in the Memphis game because I have them going all the way to the final game. That would have been a real bracket buster for me.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

I hear you about the change in the game, especially those baggy pants. But when you look at the short ones now in the old clips, they look really funny, too.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

I missed seeing you, too, but I was in your town, Atlanta. I just couldn't pass up the chance to see that cute little granddaughter of mine.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Danielle said...

Memphis scared me too. I think filling out brackets is pretty much a crapshoot though. How else can you explain the fact that my husband who pays no attention whatsoever to basketball manages to beat me every year even though I'm the college bball fan.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

Maybe we overthink our bracket picks. The people who don't know anything just make a pick. Clemson got beat. So there goes another point for me.

At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the cali teams of cours e if not the dukies


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