Why I Love the Final Four

21 Mar

No, don’t delete.  Yes, you did open to the right blog.  This is Girls Best Phriend.  So why am I talking about the Final Four?

Well I just wasn’t up for a column on the biggest story in Phillies Spring Training camp this week: whether Roy Halladay did or did not have the flu.  Then I’d have to use Charlie Manuel’s quote:

 “He was throwing up a little bit.  He was sick. He threw up after he came out after the first inning. He was sick before (the game), but he’s hardheaded. He wanted to pitch, and he threw up and we took him out of the game.”

Damn, I used it anyway.

And I certainly didn’t want to write about the pro basketball team in our town, how after all the anticipation and fanfare and an open Press Conference in the Constitution Center, where Sixers CEO Adam Aron proclaimed, to match the setting, that the trade for Andrew Bynam was an historic move for our city.

Not only did Andrew Bynam not help the 76ers “to form a more perfect union” he hasn’t played a single minute in a Sixers uniform. Who wants to read any more about that?

Damn, I did it again.

So I thought instead, what better way to take the bad taste out of our mouths (sorry Roy) than with some March Madness.  Now if you don’t usually watch the tournament  because you haven’t even heard of many of the schools and you are not a student of basketball, don’t despair.  Because these games, featuring students playing basketball are some of the best sports entertainment you’ll ever find.

Why?

Well, first there’s Selection Sunday.  I could care less about all the fancy charts and who might go where and everyone’s projected seeding. I just love the shots of the schools from gyms all over the country, where they’re all seated in full uniform, mascot often in attendance,  just waiting to see if they get in.  You see their faces watching, waiting, looking anxiously at an unseen screen and then all of a sudden they erupt in cheers and high fives and hugs.  Now that’s reality tv at its finest.

And you just know that every year, a team will barely get in, a team that many suggested shouldn’t even make the field and that lowly team will go on to have a Cinderella story of mythic proportions.

The best ones are when a relatively unknown basketball school like George Mason, an 11 seed, takes on the Big Boys and goes on a unthinkable run.  While GM didn’t win it all in 2006, they did beat three college basketball giants — No. 6 seed Michigan State, No. 2 North Carolina and No. 1 Connecticut in overtime — before their Cinderella story ended against Florida in the national semifinals.

And who can forget our very own Cinderella story the Villanova Wildcats who in 1985 were an 8 seed not even given much of a chance to reach the Final Four.  But then upset wins over top-seeded Michigan and second-seeded North Carolina propelled them to center stage (I mean, court) where they capped their run with what many still consider the biggest upset in tourney history, beating Georgetown to win the National Championship.  They are still the lowest seed to achieve that feat.

The games are thrilling, the crowds are electric with pressure building as they get closer to the prize.

I love watching their faces, young faces.   They give everything they have on the court, playing as a team for a coach they respect, often love.

Most of these young men are not destined for a career in the pros.  They will not be negotiating for big contracts and endorsements.   For many, if they lose, it will likely be the last game they play in basketball careers that likely began when they were young boys. So emotions run high.  There will be elation; there will be tears.

And the basketball is fast and fun to watch.  So do yourself a favor.  Take a break from the now hourly medical reports from our  various pro teams and give the Final Four a try.  No you will not see LeBron or Kobe and that is part of what makes these games so refreshing.

You’ll get to watch kids,  just kids having fun playing a game they love.

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2 Responses to “Why I Love the Final Four”

  1. Ray March 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    So very true, sometimes you have to watch the kids having fun to remember its a game, and games are supposed to be fun, both for the players and fans. Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in it, that we forget that !!!

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