Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Run in March

Everyone talks about their love for March Madness.  College basketball fans clamor around televisions on Selection Sunday and feverishly scratch out their brackets convinced they have the winning combination of upsets and chalk.  When Thursday finally rolls around fans are worked into a frenzy and frantically follow games via computers, iPhones, text messaging, phone calls, two hour lunches, hooky, and sick days.  It truly is madness.  In fact loss of work productivity during the tournament costs American companies an estimated 1.7 billion dollars annually.

However, for most college basketball fans, their love of March Madness flows from their love of one team.  They grew to love the tournament because nestled in the midst of thirty two basketball games over two days was one game; one game fans cared more about than any other.  That one game you cleared your calendar for; the game you smuggled a radio into middle school for; the game that was on TV in the library at lunch; the game you got updates about in the dugout; or simply, the Arizona game.

Of course, your love of March Madness hinged on that one game.  Somewhere in the back of your mind you knew that if something went wrong on a lazy afternoon in March your professed love for March Madness would quickly dwindle to a passing interest, no matter what your bracket said.  Somehow the rest of the games lost their CBS-blue-blocked-letter-scoreboard-luster when your team was no longer involved.

However, when your team finds a way to win, steals a victory and moves on, is anything sweeter?  All of a sudden you find yourself watching, and even caring, about all the other games.  The CBS College Basketball tune plays on loop in your head; you track down obscure articles about your team; and drink up all the analysis you can find.  You're a part of the madness; your team is relevant; people ask you for insider info; the question is not, "Are you watching the game?" The question is, "Where are you watching the game?"

And isn't that how it should be?  Isn't that how Tucson remembers it?

Remember those warm Sunday afternoons in March?  Remember fidgeting about all day, trying to find something to do but always watching the clock--is it 4:17 yet?  Remember turning the TV on and standing in front of it before sitting down?  Do you remember those few minutes before your parents would anxiously walk in from whatever yard work they were doing?

How about those yards on Saturday afternoons in March--filled with barbecues, laughter, football, and lawn games--that would fall silent around tip-off.  Do you recall refusing to change the chair you sat in?  Wearing the same shirt?  Refusing to watch the game anywhere but the back room of the house?

Do you recall the streets in Tucson on game days in March: dead quiet; one or two cars driving around a ghost town--out-of-towners.  Or what about the giant "Go Cats" sign hanging off the scaffolding on the construction site at UMC?  

Do you remember being 12 years old and running outside with your dad--both screaming--when Arizona beat Kansas?  Or what about your neighbor playing "Bear Down" on his trumpet?  Honking horns?  Fireworks? Do you remember defeating God in the Elite 8?

Of course you do Tucson, because that's how March is supposed to be.  And damn, doesn't it feel great to be back...

This video was uploaded to YouTube by user "bchesin" and was not created by W.C. Homer.