Congratulations to Penn State for making it to the NCAA March Madness Tournament. It seems like just yesterday that they were beating North Carolina and advancing to the Sweet 16. Sadly, that was 2001. I can still remember arriving to work (I worked at a little bar outside of Philipsburg) and turning one of the TVs to the basketball game. I watched as PSU beat #2 UNC, much to the complaints of the patrons. Most of the comments I heard were things like this “why the hell are we watching basketball? We are missing the race.” Granted, the race was on many of the other screens and sadly, I do not think it was even an actual race. I think it was some qualifier.
I am betting that most of you did not know that I was a huge basketball fan. It started in the late 80s. My uncle got me into basketball, mainly watching the Bulls. In 1994, baseball went on strike and it ruined my perception of my favorite sport. I quit watching baseball and pretty much became a huge basketball fan. It was around this time that I really started watching college basketball.
I did not have any particular team, I just enjoyed watching good teams play. When I reached high school, my friends and I would go to the Bryce Jordan Center to watch Penn State. It was only natural that I would gravitate towards being a fan of the Nittany Lions, since I was a fan of their football program.
The cool thing was that we watched the team that did so well in 2001 come up as freshmen. Joe Crispin, Titus Ivory, and the rest of the crew amazed us all by beating the Tar Heels. They then lost to Temple. After that season, I stopped following college basketball and instead focused on baseball. Apparently I have troubles following multiple sports. It also did not help that PSU pretty much sucked during that era.
Anyways, this all leads me to a point: I have another NCAA Tournament Challenge! What did you think I was going to say? I will be cheering for Penn State, especially since they take on Temple in the first round, it seems almost fitting. This does not mean that I will all of a sudden come back to being a basketball fan.