Thursday, March 20, 2008

College Sports

I like sports, and every now and then, people try and get me all excited about college sports...usually football, hockey or basketball. I'm not really sure why I don't care about college sports - sports is sports is sports, no? - but for whatever reason, I just can't get into them. I like going TO college sports games...I still remember going to my first basketball game at American on a whim with one of my friends and how both of us spent the first half being all "oh my GOD why don't we do this more?!?" Those basketball games and the time they showed Old School out on the quad were the most unified and happy I think I ever saw AU's population. This is not to bash's just got a really unique personality and the way it is kind of fragments the student body. Hard to explain. In any case, at one point when I was there, AU beat Cross to get into the NCAA tournament (I think...DON'T EMAIL ME), and it was exciting from a "something I don't care about on campus is doing well" standpoint, like when the curling team makes it to the regional championships and you kind of don't get curling, but since they're wearing AU jerseys you're willing to get mildly pumped about it and maybe engage in some three-martini shit talking on a Friday night.

However, I don't think I'm very good at picking schools with hardcore sports teams, and I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Would it be cool to go to Duke or UNC or some other ridiculously hardcore school where sports are a religion? Probably. But the schools I go to are usually the ones whose basketball makes it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, faces someone horrifying like Tennessee (AU this year), promptly gets knocked out, and then goes back to pretty-good-but-not-phenomenal basketball. It's exciting but kind of anti-climatic at the same time. Assumption seems to be about the same...they made the tournament and then lost to Bentley.

A lot of people have responded with incredulity when I tell them I've never attended a school with a football team (Assumption is the first), and I get the sense that having not done so really has made for a different timbre in the schools and their populations. There was no quarterback to idolize, the cheerleading squad only worked basketball, there was no all-consuming Friday night game...I think, too, that football, with its high equipment costs and massive popularity, tends to eat the rest of a high school's sports. I mean, people routinely turned up at my field hockey games (TWB FIELD HOCKEY WOO) for fun, and stopped by the soccer games to watch those, and it was just a more casual, universal sports interest. It's probably best to note that the school I attended was pretty small, with only about 500 kids in the building between grades 7 and 12, and it's tough for me to tell how that factored into the whole sports "thing." Part of being at a small school meant that everyone did everything...when I was in high school I played hockey, was in band and chorus, did Odyssey of the Mind, was in National Honor Society, joined the Physics and Science Clubs (yeah....there were reasons at the time), and did all kinds of other cross-extracurricular stuff. While this solidifies my nerdiness, it's also indicative of how the school was. With only 500 kids and a whole bunch of teams and clubs to populate, everyone did everything, and their friends did everything, so you wanted to check out more than just one sport. It's interesting stuff, and frankly I think is a lot of the reason I got in to good colleges.

In any case, March Madness is this week, and it should be...fine, I guess. Since I'm only at work a couple days a week, no one asks me to embarass myself by joining office pools or anything, but invariably, someone will ask me who I like, and I'll say American, because I am a jerk, and that's just how March Madness works for me.

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