Dreaming big for March Madness
March Madness is here, and if watching basketball isn’t on your list of favorite activities, I might suggest leaving the country.
OK, that might be a little extreme.
But it is a given that coverage, updates and water cooler talk about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be mostly everywhere we turn. Bracket spoilers are rampant. Underdog upsets will prevail. And smack talk takes over social media.
I’ve already seen my share of Kentucky braggadocio on Facebook.
That’s because when it comes to college basketball, passions run deep. Many basketball fans are born into families of extreme fandom. Just in Indiana alone, we have five colleges competing in the Midwest Region. They include my alma mater, Purdue — go Boilers — as well as Indiana University, Butler, Notre Dame and Valparaiso. I like to imagine Purdue winning it all, becoming the consummate Cinderella story by ESPN commentator Dick Vitale’s standards. That involves beating undefeated tournament favorite Kentucky, though.
A girl can dream.
Big dreams are the driving force behind the tournament and why millions of people watch and attend games nationwide. The idea that anyone, even the little guys from the smaller schools, could go all the way, to quote Howard Cosell, is why “Hoosiers” is still one of the greatest sports movies of all time. And the reason the Big Dance is to March like bad decisions are to St. Patrick’s Day. This year, I actually saw a guy fall face down drunk into some bushes. And it was only about 1 in the afternoon.
I might suggest quality over quantity for that guy next year.
At my age, I’m not much for going big on the St. Patrick’s party. A parade with my Irish mom and a heavy portion of her corned beef and cabbage is more my speed. I am into dreaming big in March, and lucky for me there’s a bunch of basketball to enjoy. Earlier this month I watched my cousin Alec Cook, a high-school senior who played basketball for my high school team, the New Palestine Dragons, advance to Indiana’s sectional championship. The boys played with so much heart, it was hard not to cry after their loss to rival Franklin Central. And yes, there is crying in basketball.
Win or lose.
I’m well aware not everyone loves basketball. I’m sure there are many frustrated “Young and the Restless” fans out there wondering if Stitch killed Austin or who Victor is scheming with against Jack. Their burning questions will sadly have to wait a few days. Until then, CBS “Y&R” watchers can channel surf and find out what their fridges reveal about their relationships on “The Doctors.” Maybe see what family drama Dr. Phil is dealing with in his hour of daytime programming. Or they can catch up on the entire “Breaking Bad” series on Netflix in one sitting — with sufficient breaks to eat and go to the bathroom, of course.
I’m still hoping to do that one day.
There’s always music to distract from the tournament. I’m admittedly a little late to this party, but my new favorite singer-songwriter is Austin’s Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known as Shakey Graves. His music is described as hobo folk, with adjectives such as charming, haunting, sexy and seductive used to articulate his distinctive sound.
After hearing just one of his songs, I was immediately sold.
I’m easily mesmerized by his music and can forget about anything to do with basketball when listening to his song “Dearly Departed” with Denver vocalist Esmé Patterson from his album “And the War Came.” I recently created a Shakey Graves station on Pandora, and it was one of the better choices I’ve made in my adult life. Today he begins a national tour that already has many sold-out dates, including April 3 in Indianapolis. Colorado folks have a chance to catch him live at the Grand Junction Off-Road endurance mountain bike event May 30 and at the Belly Up in Aspen May 31. Both shows sound like a dream-come-true.
Even with all this basketball on my mind.
April E. Clark is excited Indy is hosting the NCAA Men’s Final Four that includes a free, three-day music festival featuring Rihanna, Bleachers, Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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