My favorite sports event...ever...has been the NCAA tournament...always.
Specifically the first weekend.
Where else do you get the drama of 48 games in 4 days?
The NBA playoffs? Two months long.
The college bowl season? Well, eventually, if they keep adding bowl games. But who really wants to watch East Carolina/South Oregon or whatever the latest "dot-com bowl" is?
No, March Madness is a sports fan's dream. And the first two days are my favorite sports days of the year.
For starters, I grew up in a home without cable television...CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX were our only viewing options. And when else could you find a sporting event on during a weekday?
I remember filling out brackets religiously...every year.
I remember doing my schoolwork early so I could be glued to the TV at noon Thursday and noon Friday.
I remember the year our electricity went out on Friday. I huddled in the car and listened to the games on the radio.
(Worst tournament ever.)
I remember convincing my younger brother and sister to have a bracket competition with me...when I was in junior high. I remember them thinking 16 seeds must be better than 1s (because it's a HIGHER number).
I remember not correcting them...and for some reason, Florida International never did win that elusive title my brother hoped for.
I remember screaming for Valparaiso...grinning for George Mason...and picking Bruce Pearl's Wisconsin-Milwaukee into the Sweet Sixteen.
I remember my Purdue Boilermakers almost making the Final Four...so many times.
I remember attending the first ever play-in game (excuse me...ahem..."opening round game"...sorry, NCAA) in Dayton, Ohio as a college freshman. Didn't care who won...had no idea who the teams were...but it was the tournament, for crying out loud! In my own backyard!
So now I'm 24...supposed to be a grown-up...in a job with flexible hours...and the first round starts March 20. How do you think I'm going to spend my Thursday?
I'm not telling you this story to rub it in. Really. I'm telling you this to share my experience with you. Thanks to DirecTV's Mega March Madness package...and the fact I have a 60-inch television PLUS a 32-inch television in my living room...I am one of the few people in America who is:
A. crazy enough and
B. actually able to
watch EVERY MOMENT of action on Thursday...start to finish...on two screens at the same time...all the better to keep tabs on the different games.
And I'll be writing about this marathon on Bleacher Report. Amazing shots, crazy announcer quotes, weird commercials, ticked-off coaches, obnoxious fans, you name it. Call it a live-blog...call it a journal...call it analysis...call it obsession...call it whatever you want. I just love the tournament, have set aside my entire Thursday to enjoy it, and want to describe what I see.
Tell your friends...tell your neighbors...on Thursday I'll be watching every second and posting about it right here. If you're stuck at work and can't stream the game you want...if you want to know when the first upset happens...I'll have the updates for you every hour. Or...watch the games yourself...then read through the whole series the next day for my instant, unscripted analysis as your favorite moments unfolded. Search Cary on Bleacher Report and look for "Mega March Madness Marathon, 12:00-1:00 pm" as the first installment.
The madness has begun.