Thursday, March 20, 2014

My favorite day of the year, diminished

Today is my favorite day of the year!

More exciting for me than Christmas, or my birthday, or even Jackson's birthday -- and let me digress, a present for Jackson's birthday arrived today but I have to wait almost three months to give it to him; it's killing me already -- is the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Pretty much every year for the past two decades, whether in class or at work, I've been able to take off this Thursday afternoon and watch the tournament non-stop from noon 'til midnight. Might be at home, perhaps at a bar, sometimes at a friend's house, occasionally in person, and often a mix of those options. Some years I've hooked up multiple televisions to be able to see several games at once. After a day of gorging on basketball, I follow it with a Friday doing the same thing. And then a Saturday. And a Sunday.
Bracket by ESPN.
One year, I escaped a court hearing on a Thursday afternoon because my opposing counsel had tickets to an NCAA tournament session. Thank goodness. I not only had "no objection" to his motion to continue the hearing to a later date, I offered my "full support." The judge, who had multiple degrees from the University of North Carolina, cheerfully granted the motion.

This year, I'm out of luck. A handful of tournament games are shown on ESPN (broadcasting the CBS coverage), but they generally start around 10:00 pm and go into the middle of the night. Since we're only four hours ahead of the U.S.'s east coast -- we're usually five hours ahead, but the earlier daylight savings time in the States crunches our time difference for a few weeks -- I'm missing all of CBS's afternoon games. Rather than college basketball, ESPN here is showing football (i.e., soccer) from the Bundesliga, or French rugby, or other #%&*! programming instead of U.S. college basketball.


Double sniff.

I may be able to watch some games online, so it's not a total loss. But the NCAA's online service isn't available to those of us overseas. Only a fraction of the tournament's games are available, through secondary sources.

I have an undergraduate degree from Indiana University, and a law degree from Duke University. IU wasn't any good this year, so go Blue Devils!
Moreover, I'm the only person I know in the entire country who actually cares about the NCAA Tournament. Kate will dutifully watch some games, but she'll grow bored or restless. Jackson likes to watch, but his attention span won't last an entire game. And he's not fond of my occasional outburst at officiating. (For Jackson's sake, I hope there aren't any games with Ted Valentine, Karl Hess, or Jamie Luckie.)

Jackson at Cameron Indoor Stadium last spring.
I'll muster what excitement I can. I'll stay up late, record the early morning games, watch online.

But it just won't be the same.

My favorite day of the year. Reduced. Devalued. Diminished.


  1. It's probably best you can't watch this year. Ugh....

  2. True, not a good year for the Blue Devils.

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