Mar 24, 2009

From the Desk

by Amanda Baker

 So, let me just start off by saying that I was pretty stoked when the Gonzaga Bulldogs won at the last possible second and crushed Western Kentucky’s dream of advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. As a Spokane native, I know how Gonzaga basketball reigns supreme, and how people snatch up season passes two years in advance. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why the Sweet Sixteen is such a big deal for Spokanites. It is our chance to show off the team we support incessantly.

Since I grew up in a basketball-obsessed town, it was a shock when I came to the South and discovered that the main sport that was harped about was football. Yes, basketball has its place (in the corner of the room), but I have never met so many Redskins and Cowboys fans until I came to Liberty.

However, when March Madness comes around, the little basketball player in of all of us comes out to cheer on favorite teams, jeer at the referees and eat junk food on the couch while diligently ignoring homework assignments that can wait until the commercial break. A couple friends have even mentioned skipping classes to watch their favorite teams (although I would never endorse this...).

Brackets are a huge deal, too. I had a friend who filled out four brackets, each with different outcomes, so that he could be as close to having a perfect bracket as possible. He nearly broke down in tears when Michigan beat Clemson. I felt a slight twinge of pity for him, then nearly broke down myself when I saw I had made the same mistake on my bracket. Oh, well. Justice was served when Oklahoma beat the Clemson bracket-buster. At least my final four picks are still intact … for now.

March Madness is a good excuse to bond with fellow basketball-addicted friends, too. The roar of approval that followed Jeremy Pargo’s dunk in the second half of the Gonzaga-Akron game that was being broadcast into my friend’s living room made the game that much more fun to watch. Hanging with people also warrants the excuse to split the cost of pizza, drinks and snacks. The cheaper the better, right?
(In case you were wondering, the instant replay of Pargo’s dunk was pretty sick, too.)

If money is available, travelling to games can also promote unity and team spirit (to borrow an overused cheerleading term). During the west coast conference championship game in Las Vegas, the commentators made sure to point out how well Gonzaga fans travelled. Vegas and Spokane are not close in proximity, yet the stands were packed with Bulldog fans in red shirts, cheering their team to victory over Saint Mary’s. This kind of rabid devotion is not rare during the Big Dance.
So, when I cheer on the Zags when they face North Carolina on Friday, I will be chilling at my friend’s house and momentarily ignoring homework. After all, nothing soothes a stressed-out college student more than watching college basketball.

Pass the nachos, please.


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