Friday, September 14, 2007

The Value of College Basketball

It was bound to happen. I’m a guy and it’s only normal that I talk about sports. As a kid I never watched sports, but somehow one day I turned on the TV and watched a college basketball game. It has been over 11 years now since that fateful day. I continue to watch college basketball and I seem to find myself enjoying it more and more.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like watching NFL, MLB, and NBA games but they aren’t as pure as NCAA Basketball. Professional athletes attempt to perform at the highest levels for economic incentives. In college basketball, the players aren’t getting paid to play. They play for the love of the game, and for on court respect. What college players do receive are benefits like scholarships, which ultimately allow them to earn a degree, and they get to travel around the country.

When college basketball players take the court they seem to live for the moment. Each game they play with heart, intensity, and a fiery passion. Watching a game where a team hits a desperation three-pointer, with a few tenths of a second left, to win is what its all about. Following such a scenario results in the masses rushing the court to collectively celebrate the improbable win. I’m going to be honest; I get on the edge of my seat when a game goes down to the last shot.

College basketball isn’t just basketball, reputations are earned or destroyed. Dynasties are created or erased by a single shot. Traditions are established with each win. Every loss is taken with disdain and regret.

Around late February that’s when the real excitement begins. March Madness arrives and 64 teams begin their quest to be crowned the National Champs. Each game that passes is more intense than the previous one. Each team is constantly reminded that if they lose, they go home and it’s the end of the season for them.

Every year there are major upsets where an underdog takes down a heavily favorite in the early rounds of tournament. Just like every year there are favorites that make it deep into the tournament. Yet, the idea that anyone of the 64 teams can win it all, makes watching college basketball that much more interesting. March Madness is a tournament that everyone should watch to experience the true definition of college ball. It’s indescribable the feelings one gets watching the tournament unfold. College basketball isn’t just basketball; it’s a game that has value.

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