Sunday, March 14, 2010

Be strong in body, clean in mind, lofty in ideals. - James Naismith

March is the most difficult month for me to live abroad. For the past eight years, I've spent each March tired from 11pm tip-offs and bleary-eyed from far too much googling of players. Last night was the Big 12 Championship; I could have paid £9 to watch it via espn, but figured listening would be the next best thing. Of course, KJHK was having 'technical difficulties' throughout, culminating in a poor tech guy attempting to tell listeners what was happening from a tiny TV screen in the booth. Of course KU ran us down to the wire. I'm never comfortable until we've got at least a 15-point lead. But while I flipped from to, listening to random commentary, I recalled the change in technology since March Madness 2002. [Photo from]

2002: KU makes it to the Final Four vs. Maryland. I sweet-talked keys to my Prague school and watched a blinking screen through the dial-up, heart racing, desperate to fill the air with noise. Oh, the dial-up.

2003: One better: KU to the final game, versus Syracuse. Again, sweet-talked keys, this time to my school in Lisbon, and I watched little blue and orange dots shimmy around a rectangle on the CBS website. (PS Good riddance, Roy.)

2004: Bill Self's first year, and he respectably gets us to the Elite Eight. Actually, this was the year that I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner (hi Trista) in Denver, and me and the groomsmen ran out to the limo when we could to check the score. I suppose this is gratitude for televisions in the back of limos. Bling.

2005: Kansas crashes out to Bucknell in the first round. I watch highlights (and some games) from the connection my Slovenian MOD school job - the delay is obvious, but at least it's bodies, though in a tiny square. Oh, and I won the US Marine House bracket challenge (and 5000 Slovenian Tolars). I had to provide much proof that it was me because 'girls don't know basketball'. Ahem.

2006: Crashed out AGAIN in the first round - this time to Bradley - but these cinderella stories are what March is all about, so I watch anyway. At work, in Slovenia. This time the screen is bigger and I can even hear the commentary.

2007: KU to Elite 8 versus UCLA. Wireless broadband (!!) in my flat in Lugano. With real commentary! And real bullhorn sounds! Real Rock Chalk chants!

2008: I won't tire you with that again...but we WON.

So now there's a CBS iPhone app; if I were in America, I could watch the games from my beautiful machine. That's a dare, CBS. I dare you to make an app so I can watch March Madness from Europe in 2011.

Watching online will never be like watching in a sports bar, or better, in the arena. But it brings me that much closer to the Dance. Thank you, CBS, for making March so much more bearable.

Rock chalk, baby. Oooooh I do love March.

Factoid: James Naismith invented basketball. He was from Canada, born to Scottish parents. He was the first KU coach. Life is serendipitous.


Sharon said...

What a journey through time! March Madness is just a great doubt about it. You just want everyone to play their best. (I'm just glad I get to watch in the US time zones!) Rock Chalk!

Matt Strachan said...

So........ he was Scottish then.

Tanya said...

I remember the 2007 tournament when you watched the game in the middle of the night in a hotel in Milan! (I choose not to remember the disaster I created a few hours later!!)