This is a busy day around here, hence the lack of morning links (hands up everyone who wants the morning links to stay, seriously -- I'm inclined to ditch 'em, unless there's something worth riffing on).
But e-mailer Dave Wells is carrying the mail with this e-mail, topical and a blessed relief from all the Leafs-Habs stuff floating around the newsroom and the city (Remember JABS' No. 1 rule of pro sports: the bigger the game -- and in Toronto, there is no stage bigger than the Leafs when they're not conceding anything, and not fooling around anymore -- the safer you are to ignore the blizzard of hype).
|It's Pittsnogle of the Mountaineers. Seriously.|
Take it away, Dave:
"Here are the Top 13 Reasons a Canadian Hoops Fan must go to March Madness at least once before they die. Based loosely on my trip to the Palace at Auburn Hills with the boys for the opening two rounds of the Oakland bracket.
"13. Americanstan's combination of patriotism & religious fervour makes for crazed fans. It's so cool to sit with people cheering their college. For them, the tournament is 64 mini Stanley Cup finals.
"12. You might see a team from the middle of nowhere Louisiana (NSU) upset a powerhouse from Iowa on a buzzer beater. Unbridled joy and the agony of defeat, all in under 5 seconds.
"11. Making fun of funny named players. Insert your own Kevin Pittsnogle joke here. Kansas also has a player named Sasha Kaun, which sounds a lot like Chaka Kahn.
"10. College bands can make any song sound great. My favourites from this weekend were Van McCoy's "The Hustle" and Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend".
"9. Cheerleaders. Not what you're thinking lads. But rather, having a group of unfailingly optimistic people to applaud your every success and brighten up every failure. Wouldn't work be a lot more enjoyable if there cheerleaders around to chant "Fight - Fight - Fight" when you've got that key presentation to make before the boss?
"8. You might see #13 Bradley completely outplay #4 Kansas. Cinderella is going out on the town tonight!
"7. Walking into the Troy Community Centre and representing the C-A, N-A, D-A on the hardwood. Surprisingly, the calibre of play was equal or below Toronto pickup games.
"6. America is a consumer's paradise. More like a giant mall with people living in it than a country. New Reebok kicks $40, new leather Wilson NCAA ball $20 and Sebastian Telfair documentary (director's cut) $15.
"5. Finding a roadhouse that serves enormous portions. And has a Deerhunters special that includes a gallon of chili. Only in America.
"4. Seeing sports sober. There are many hoops fans who, like me, can only make it through a dreadful, midseason Raptors vs. Hawks game in a self-medicated, ACC draft haze. But there's no beer served at March Madness, which makes for a totally different and more enjoyable experience.
"3. Duty free on your way into the States.
"2. Seeing Bradley knock off #5 Pitt. Watching their fans go insane. And deciding that at least three of their players must be drafted by the Raptors.
"1. March Madness is the most drama packed hoops event around. The suspense of the one-and-one. Every game is do or die. Every player, coach, fan and mascot cares so much. It is unlike any other sporting event in North America. It must be experienced first hand to be understood."