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Break out your dancing shoesPosted Friday, March 14, 2008, at 8:58 PM
I've never been much of a dancer, except perhaps at prom or the occasional wedding, but the call of March changes things amongst most sports fans.
This weekend will fill out the dance cards to see who is getting an invitation to the NCAA basketball version of the prom.
Conference tourneys always provide some compelling dramas with upsets and crazed fans from small schools doing their own happy dance at center court when their school knocks off Goliath.
I've got to admit I'm a sucker for late night west coast basketball with the UNLV's, San Diego's, Gonzaga's and Mt. Saint Mary's of the world in an eternal struggle to head to the NCAA Tourney.
I think that these games provide the same thrill as a good drama on the big screen, with emotions so close to the surface of the players and coaches.
When you get non-basketball power like American University, a Portland State or a Mount St. Mary's of the Northeast Conference that qualifies for the NCAA Tourney , you get a look into the excitement that the sport can generate amongst players and fans.
The monetary boost of a tourney bid aside, a trip to the NCAA Tourney is typically a rallying point for a school's student body. Hoops can help heal a lot of wounds.
Just look at North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Northen Illinois. Each school dealt with the tragedy of murders at their respective universitys over the past couple of years.
But as sporting events were re-scheduled and took place, basketball games seemed to be a place where fans could feel the joy of rooting on their team while taking a break from their grief.
So when NCAA Tourney berths are announced this weekend, I'll stand by with my dancing shoes at ready and hope for a nice path for my Hoosiers. I'm sure they'll need it with the way things have played out of late, Big Ten Tourney aside at this point. But rest assured that between dances I'll be checking out my brackets and hoping to keep ahead of my competition. Because it's pretty embarrassing when you're a sports writer and you get outpicked by a co-worker's pre-teen son, which happened last year.
So get your brackets ready and if you can, check out a conference tourney of your choice and see the joy that still makes the game fun for these kids. But if you're a part-time dancer like myself, get your brackets ready.
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