Monday, March 29, 2010

Anyone But Duke

I hope to never see this again

The title of this post says it all. Since UNC and Umass aren't in the tournament this year my number one focus is Duke losing. Unfortunately, and it sickens me to say this, but they have played pretty well these last few weeks especially on the defensive side of the ball. Not to mention they were gift wrapped the easiest region of all time even though they were a borderline #1 seed to begin with. I guess the silver lining in all of this is I get to root against them one more time on Saturday. Like I've said before, rooting against a team can almost be as fun as rooting for a team.

Every March Madness is filled with surprises but this one seems to be especially "mad" if you will. Two 5 seeds playing each other and three of the four #1 seeds bowing out early. It goes to show you that basketball is by far the dumbest sport to bet on. It's way too unpredictable. My bracket was toast after Villanova and Kansas lost in the same day. It looks more and more like naming my work pool Anyone but Duke may have had the opposite effect. Let's just say I'll be a huge WVU fan this Saturday.

A few months ago I wrote a column "Down with the Haters" about my dislike of people that hate just to hate. Now, I guess in some ways I'm guilty of this when it comes to my feelings for Duke. However, I think it's okay to hate a team more than it is to hate a player. Unless that individual has specifically harmed you or someone you know there's no reason to hate that particular individual. The exceptions to this? Terrell Owens and Kobe Bryant; Everyone should hate them.

Hating a team is different because you aren't attacking a person but rather just an organization. I don't hate Coach K or John Schyer or any of those guys. I just hate or rather strongly dislike Duke's basketball team. Same goes for the Lakers. While I don't like a lot of the players on the Lakers I don't hate them personally, but I do hate the Lakers as a team. Well, I do strongly dislike Kobe because I don't see any possibility of him being a good person.

The point is, part of loving sports is hating some teams. But always make sure to not take it so seriously. Remember these guys did not do anything to you and are just trying to help their teams win. Also, like I always say we wouldn't hate these teams if they weren't good You can root against them as much as you want, but let's quit with the personal attacks. Except of course if those personal attacks are going against T.O or Kobe, then please attack at will!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why we love the Underdog

March Madness means the underdog takes front stage once again. In no other sporting event in the world do we see more upsets than during these 3 weeks. Nobody becomes somebody. Heroes are born. Goliaths fall. We embrace the underdog because in a way most of us are all underdogs in some sense. We want to see the little guy win because we have all been in that position before. Sure, when Northern Iowa toppled #1 seed Kansas most of us tore up our brackets. But then we cheered for these unknowns who were suddenly on center stage. Why? Because we've all dreamed of feeling that excitement for ourselves.

It's interesting that Americans get so behind underdogs because America is the anti-underdog. We are the most powerful nation in the world and besides soccer, expected to win pretty much everything. But while America itself is like that, the citizens themselves come from all walks of life. 99% of us will never set foot on the world stage. We go about our regular days fighting against the odds to succeed. The world is a cruel place sometimes and we are all battling to make it through. For us, we are the underdogs in this game of life (sappy but true!)

I realized when the Colts lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl that it is almost as fun to root against a team as it is for a team. That is another reason we love the underdog. We love to root against the favorite. For the casual fan who doesn't have money on their bracket, you are probably pulling for Cornell tomorrow night. Chances are you won't be rooting for Duke to win it all. I'd love to see an all mid major final someday. I can see Duke and Kentucky play anytime I want.

Nobody remembers the favorites who won. We all remember when George Mason made their magical run back in 2006, but some might take a few moments to remember who actually won that tournament. " Who is this year's George Mason" replaced "Who is this year’s Gonzaga". You never hear who is this year's Kansas or UNC or Duke. Every year there is a champion but usually it's the underdogs who stay in our memories forever.

My bracket is done and has been since Villanova lost last Saturday, but truthfully I don't care. I'm going to enjoy rooting for the Cornell's and Saint Mary's of the world. I'm going to hope Northern Iowa can continue their magical run. I'm going to root with everything I have against Duke. I will always cheer for the underdog unless of course it is against any of my teams. It's human instinct to root for them. Plus, it's just a lot more fun if the little guy wins than the favorite, don't you agree?