Sunday, March 11, 2007

Let the Madness Begin

H. V. Porter, an official with the Illinois High School Association (and later a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame) was the first person to use March Madness to commemorate a basketball tournament. A gifted writer, Porter published an essay named March Madness in 1939 and in 1942 used the phrase in a poem, Basketball Ides of March. Through the years the use of March Madness picked up steam, especially in Illinois and other parts of the Midwest. During this period the term was used almost exclusively in reference to state high school tournaments. In 1977, the IHSA published a book about its tournament titled March Madness.

Fans began connecting the term to the NCAA tournament in the early 1980s. Evidence suggests that CBS sportscaster Brent Musburger, who had worked for many years in Chicago prior to joining CBS, popularized the term during the annual tournament broadcasts.
- Wikipedia

There you have it -- the abridged history of the term "March Madness," which we're about to witness starting later this week. H.V. Porter dreamt it up, and Brent - 'you are live...' Musburger got the snowball rolling down the hill.

Just let me make one thing perfectly clear right up front. I have watched maybe - maybe - the equivalent of one full college basketball game this year. Before BC suspended one of its best players, I vaguely remember watching an Eagles-Duke game, with Dickie Vitale at courtside having a coronary. I think that was this season...

Anyway, my point is that I'm not a big college hoops guy - but this ingenious tournament that's about to begin this week, otherwise known as the NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship, just hooks you in and keeps you interested. And wouldn't you know it - there's Dickie V. on my TV again right now, giving the selection committee holy hell for leaving Florida State and Drexel out of the dance. He's a clown but you gotta love him this time of year, and you have to admire the guy's passion. Veins are literally popping out of his forehead because he feels the Drexel Dragons got snubbed!

And therein lies the beauty of this tournament -- it's all about Cinderellas and stories - all of which appeal to the heart of a real sports fan. There's also the office pools. Tomorrow is like a holiday for office copiers across America -- that's when the brackets come out and everyone from your boss to the guy in the mailroom makes his picks and then watches the madness. Some people pick their alma maters, others try to put some serious analysis into it. If your team is lucky enough to be in it, you may have to leave work a little early on Thursday.

There has to be a way to modify this playoff system for college football.

nice blog today... ummm ... i mean several weeks ago.
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