March. A time for your clocks to spring forward, trees to bud, and for many the sports equivalent to nirvana. So my question to the world: is there a better month for sports then March? America is on its toes for football all winter and then there comes a wasteland between the end of the NFL season and the next important sports moment. March is that time.
College basketball is something special. The NFL may own a day of the week but the NCAA has a whole month named after it. March Madness gives us a chance to learn about these no name schools from small towns that capture the country’s attention for just a short time. Without the NCAA tournament we would not get to meet people like Ali Farokhmanesh and Kevin Pittsnogle. Heck this is the place where the world was introduced to the skinny kid from Davidson that hit three pointers from all over the floor and made Stephen Curry a star.
Fans come and connect to their teams in a new way and the story lines are so strong. Florida Gulf Coast from a few years ago was high flying and fun. They took down #2 Georgetown and then beat #7 San Diego State and the people wanted to know where these guys came from. My bet is the school got calls left and right so high school seniors from Florida could go to the school that was cool. I had no idea who they were and I wanted them to win the whole thing just to see the world burn.
And brackets. How many people that have never picked up a basketball, all of a sudden are experts on how to fill it out. My mother religiously fills out a bracket. Her methods are far different then mine, but she still fills one out. She is a proud Kentucky Wildcat, yet this seems to be the only time of year that you would know. Office pools divide the office, and things can get ugly which is why it is a good thing that it is only one month.
Yet, basketball is not the only playoff fun you can get into.
Hockey for a small time starts its playoff push. Teams are vying for the last few spots and the type of play changes. It is grittier. The teams hit harder. The games get tighter. And all in hopes of raising the Cup in the playoffs a month or so later. I agree that hockey is a winter sport and having it finish in June just doesnt make any sense, but that is besides the point. Hockey is cool for this moment in time and no one can take that away from such and amazing sport. I personally love a good hockey game. There is no shortage of action, and how many sports let the teams fight. Instantly more spectator friendly.
Then you have the NBA playoff push. For those of you peasants who dont get excited for College basketball, maybe you fall into this category. The same time as the NHL goes to close out its season, so does the NBA. Now, every team makes it (or so it seems), but seeding is so important for these games. So even though you are in, you do not want to be away from home for too long. In season’s like this we are counting the wins to see if Golden State and Curry can recreate that magic he found in his NCAA tournament days (see, even the NBA lives in college glory days).
My favorite though is the most American way to tell spring is here: Baseball. In the movie Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones’ character says, “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.”
Tell me you do not have goosebumps reading that.
It has marked the time that spring is here and the crack of the bat is back. Yes all of the teams run away to where it is warm all the time because judging the weather in Boston during March is just to much. But now we get pictures of teams outside. We get to buy tickets to games and think about summer nights. These images put us in that frame of mind that all that snow will finally melt and our families will be together at least once under the lights, watching the hometown team. For me there are always memories of good family times at baseball games and it all has to get started at some point. Spring training is that time.
So, lets hear it. What can beat this time of year in sports. Olympics and the World Cup? Cool, but its only every four years. October? I really do love playoff baseball, but it is really only one sport because football season is just getting going and has not take complete control of our TVs.
For me, its all about March.
Featured Images by AP Photo/David J. Phillip, AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Andy Lyons/Getty Images