For a spot in the Sweet 16

Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2009 by Travis Cody in
12


There are some basketball pronouncers that I enjoy. They all use the typical sports cliches to describe the action, but some do it with a bit more honesty and a lot less live-or-die seriousness.

Jay Bilas is one I enjoy. During the game this morning between #6 seed UCLA and #3 seed Villanova, Mr Bilas said something with which I have to agree. He said that a team's performance in the tournament doesn't validate or invalidate its inclusion in the field of 64.

Many said Arizona didn't belong. And then when they beat Utah, many said that they must belong after all. But if that's so, then by the same logic every team that won in the first 2 days belongs, and every team that lost didn't belong.

There were 31 teams that gained an automatic bid by winning conference tournaments and 33 that got in with at large invitations. Or 34 if you count the play in game, which I don't. According to the RPI ratings, there are 343 college basketball programs. Only 64 of them are going to have the opportunity to play for a national championship. Realistically, there are only about 8-10 of those teams that have a shot at winning the tournament.

And only one team is going to cut down the nets as the national champion.

This tournament is about opportunity. It's about Cleveland State seizing the opportunity to beat Wake Forest. It's about rooting for the underdog, and hoping that underdog isn't putting the screws to your favorite team.

This tournament is about dreaming that the match ups are in your favor, and the other team's best player maybe has an off shooting day, and a break or two goes your way...and you find yourself upsetting a higher seed.

And this tournament is about the reality and the finality of a college athlete's career. Because when the match ups are not in your favor, and the other team's best player is an All America who performs to his potential, and the breaks go against you...you find yourself as a senior who has just played in his final game. And you can't remember your achievements over the last four years because the only thing in front of you in that moment is that it's finished.

It truly is about the opportunity. And if you get the opportunity, whether people think you deserve it or not, it's what you do with it that matters.

And since only one of the 64 teams is going home as a winner, you take the opportunity and make your moment.

That's why I love this tournament.

One Shining Moment
by David Barrett

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you're running for your life
you're a shooting star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows...
(in) ONE SHINING MOMENT, IT'S ALL ON THE LINE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, THERE FROZEN IN TIME

But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment's gone
And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew...
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED DEEP INSIDE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW YOU WERE ALIVE

Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it's more than a contest
it's more than a race...

And when it's done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew...
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED FOR THE SKY
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU WERE WILLING TO TRY
ONE SHINING MOMENT....

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful poem (song?). I played basketball in high school. I was a pretty good shooter, if I do say so myself, and we were undefeated the 2 years I played. It was pure joy, excitement and camaraderie. I can't imagine playing under the pressure these teams play under.

  1. See the post below. All I know is that traffic sucks in Portland this week :P

    But we did raise over 500 bucks on tickets for last thursday and todays games.

  1. DrillerAA says:

    College basketball is a fun game to watch. For whatever reason, I much prefer it to the NBA. I certainly like the NCAA tournament over the NBA play-offs.

  1. Travis says:

    WT4W: It's a song that is played at the end of every tournament, to celebrate the effort of all 64 teams.

    Starr: Well, even a person who doesn't follow sports can probably appreciate the high emotion that flows from the tournament. Congrats on the fund raising!

    Drilleraa: Even with the big money that college sports generate, there still seems something more pure in the joy of the athletes. At least, that's how I see it.

  1. I understand every single word of this post.

    *Mimi uncrosses fingers and walks away.*

    Lying is bad for my complexion.

  1. Well stated, my friend. There are so many high highs and low lows watching this tournament. It's the dream and the possibilities that make this, the Big Dance, the pinnacle for fans and athletes and coaches and parents. No, the outcome does not decide world peace or end hunger, but the dream and possibility of the seemingly impossible translate into other moments that can make a difference.

    I love this time of year.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    You know I know nothing about sport Trav, but I do like that poem.

  1. TopChamp says:

    I love the way you write - so read this though I don't really understand basketball. I do get rooting for the underdog though.

  1. Jamie says:

    Great poem and true for just about any field of endeavor that takes your whole heart to accomplish

  1. Dana says:

    You're so incredibly cute when I have no idea what you're talking about!

    :smooch:

  1. jennifer says:

    I LOVED cheering at basketball games a LOOOOOONG time ago. I could actually follow the game... unlike football where we would get confused and cheer for the defense when we had the ball :(