Rob Long: Gearing Up For Some Madness
I love this time of the year. It’s filled with anticipation in the world of sports. First there’s the conference tournaments that lead to the ultimate multi-week sports showcase called the NCAA Tournament.
There’s nothing more exciting in sports than the tournament. The first Thursday of the tournament is the absolute best. You have to view it someplace with multiple televisions and multi-tasking is a must. It’s the one day that you hope your bracket predictions are ruined because there’s nothing like a 13 seed beating a four seed.
Who’s the 2014 version of Florida Golf Coast? You know the tournament will produce a similar team. That means a hot coach will emerge from the tournament as well. There will be a Shaka Smart who turns down job offers to stay with his program as well as an Andy Enfield who’ll parlay the opportunity to move on to a more glamorous situation. That’s what the tournament provides. It allows young people, who were seemingly unknown to achieve stardom, even if just for a couple of weeks.
Remember Wally Szczerbiak’s 43 points in the first round against number seven seed Washington back in 1999? Wally wasn’t done there. He had 24 points in the second round against number two seed Utah, leading his Miami(Ohio) RedHawks to the Sweet Sixteen.
While NBA scouts knew Szczerbiak, the rest of the basketball world was less familiar. He turned that into a sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft, going to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The other madness that occurs and gets me going this time of the year is Opening Day. Whether it’s an official holiday or not, Opening Day provides a true holiday atmosphere. I can’t sleep the night before Opening Day. It feels light Christmas. Especially this year because the Baltimore Orioles have a roster that gives the impression of a Christmas tree filled with toys beneath it.
Opening Day represents the start of baseball season and warm weather which will shortly follow. I can’t wait to smell the hot dogs and hear the baseball chants from the crowd. It’s baseball season and finally, it’s like Spring. It offers a breath of fresh air. With so many negative stories floating around, it’s difficult to have anything negative to say about the prospects of the 2014 season. I can’t wait. Let’s get ready for what looks to be a very exciting season of Orioles baseball.
Yup, the madness begins. If you watched the CAA, Southern Conference, Horizon and Summit conference championships, the madness is already underway.
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