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Final Four

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.05.07 AMNow there are four men’s teams and only three more games. I’m already feeling withdrawal and sad because this time next week the college basketball season will be finished, over, done. Some of you are saying, “Thank goodness!’ March Madness has almost been a round-the-clock reality TV show for the past two weeks. A reality show that I’ve recorded and watched and then read about in the newspaper. A reality show that will end when the players of the championship team cut down the net. “One Shining Moment” will be the background music for a video of the tournaments’ highlights. I’ll shed a tear or two.

I understand not everyone cut teeth on basketball gym bleachers as I did and not everyone cares about the Final Four. Maybe you have barely tolerated friends and family who’ve talked nonstop basketball. Maybe you’ve cheered for our OVC and Tennessee teams, and when those teams lost, you lost interest. This writing is for you.

Isn’t there something interesting besides the game score?  Some trivia? According to ESPN.go.com, the Florida Gators’ colors are orange and blue. Florida’s forward Jacob Kurtz used to be the team manager. He washed practice gear and handed out socks. From laundry boy to walk-on player to scholarship player.

The Connecticut Huskies wear blue and white. Connecticut, aka UConn, is the only university in the country that offers a Masters in the Puppet Arts.   UConn’s Shabazz Napier would play for Puerto Rico, his mother’s homeland, if that team gets into the 2016 Olympics. He could have quit college and played professionally, but he promised his mother that he would graduate. And on Mother’s Day, he will.

The Kentucky Wildcats’ color is blue. All of Kentucky’s starting players are freshmen. How does a coach teach 19 year-olds to share and play together? Kentucky has two great freshmen players who are identical twins, Andrew and Aaron Harrison. Imagine how proud their parents are. And a silly anagram for Kentucky Wildcats is “Twisty Dunk (cackle).”

The Wisconsin Badgers wear cardinal and white.  The school’s mascot name came from miners in the 1820s who dug like a badger. Without housing in winter, the miners burrowed into hillside tunnels. During the play of a game, watch 7 foot center Frank Kaminsky – he talks to himself. His teammates are sometimes distracted. Maybe his opponents, too.

Who? When? Where?   On Saturday night, Florida vs. Connecticut and Kentucky vs. Wisconsin. The winners play the championship game Monday night.   Arlington, Texas (close to Fort Worth) at the A T & T Stadium.

To make it through the next few days around us basketball fans, pretend to be interested. Pick a team, based on any criteria. A color or mascot. One of my Grands said he’s for Wisconsin because his daddy knows people who live there. I narrowed my choice to Florida and Kentucky because those schools are in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) – the same conference that the University of Tennessee is in. I’m going with Florida. Those Kentucky freshmen will get another chance.

And you should know that the women’s Final Four games will be played in Nashville, Music City USA, Sunday and Tuesday. I’ll be in a nosebleed seat. As I write, the women’s final four teams haven’t been determined, but I know my team is the one who plays UConn. I can’t tell you why here. Ask me and I will.

 

 

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