For any type of basketball fan, right now is by far the best time of year. Whether cheering for a mid-major, conference power, the underdog, the favorite, your alma mater or even for a university you never knew existed - there’s nothing quite like March Madness. Brackets busted, bandwagon fans hopping from team to team and college colors being seen every which way you turn, March really is the best month of the year.
The worst part of the month? Being in Europe while Madness infiltrates every television station, radio broadcast and newspaper sports section in North America. Though able to watch each game online via live stream, (thank you CBS Sports!) it’s not nearly the same as having a gathering of friends over to talk trash with, heading to the local bar to enjoy a few brews while surrounded by monstrous HDTVs or screaming at the screen and completely losing yourself in the moment, forgetting you’re surrounded by strangers. Instead, I’m stuck watching college basketball alone in my room on my 10-inch Macbook. Most Europeans don’t know much about US college basketball and even if they do, they don’t really care. This tends to put a damper on my personal March Madness.
Nevertheless, I’ve spent all my free time staying up late to watch games, trying to trick myself into being a part of the excitement. Because I can’t share this wonderful time of year with my friends, I’ve tried to duplicate the atmosphere in a couple of ways. First is by watching a live stream while Skyping with a friend who also is watching the same stream. This way, we’re able to watch the game ‘together’…or something like that. When in reality it’s kind of weird because we end up barely talking while staring at our screens, sometimes forgetting the other is there. Or one of our games will be ahead, ruining the build up for the other! Sounds awesome right? Not! Another option I had to resort to and get creative with was using my Blackberry. Missing two games I was most looking forward to watching (SDSU/Temple, Butler/Pitt), while being on a 10 hour road trip, I had to resort to following excruciatingly slow game tracker updates via my Sports Illustrated App. Unsatisfied with having no idea how the game was being played, who had the momentum and which team looked as though they wanted it more - I started to BBM (Blackberry message) with a friend who was watching the game live. She was kind and patient enough to give me (for the most part) the play-by-play and breakdown of the game. Though I’m thankful technology enabled me to be somewhat part of Saturday night’s Madness, I happened to miss out on probably 2 of the most exciting games of the tournament thus far. Dangit!
Because I’m away from everything familiar covering the NCAA tournament, I guess I’ll have to YouTube Saturday’s highlights Sunday morning, rather than catch them on Sports Centre or ESPN. C’est La Vie!
Thankfully, I’ve been home and available when Washington (my alma mater) played its 1st and 2nd round games. If you’re questioning my dedication, check this: I woke up at 3am Saturday morning to watch my Huskies squeak out a victory over Georgia. Though sleep deprived the following day/night, the sacrifice was well worth it. Sadly, today the boys lost a heartbreaker to traditional power North Carolina Tar Heels. They had a chance to win in 7 seconds left, but silly turnovers killed us. Wearing purple and screaming at my computer while alone in my room, I couldn't help but be proud of my DAWGS.
Basketball Update: I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Four more games left in the season and I get to go home. Draw your own conclusions ☺