Category Archives: Sports

Thanks For A Guy’s Great Outdoors

Headed into the wild.

I’d like to thank the two dads that have been my son’s Scout Masters during his years in Boy Scouting, John and Angelo.  We didn’t know anything about scouting when he joined, but figured it would be a good experience for him to try out camping with his friends.  Our son loved the great outdoors and has enjoying the scouting activites for four years and counting.

His positive experience has been possible thanks to the dads who served as leaders and provided adult supervision on the monthly camping trips.  We are not campers, and I have severe pollen allergies and cannot spend the night outdoors.  Without scouting, our son would not have the opportunity to do the camping he enjoys so much.

I remember my son’s first camping trip, Angelo sent me a couple of text messages so I knew he was fine.  I missed my guy, but he came home so happy.  The troop has a rotating group of trained, volunteer dads who take the group camping, and I appreciate them giving up their weekends to sleep in a tent out in the weather and make sure the boys are safe and having fun.  And a special thanks for being understanding when we all discovered that my son gets car sick on long trips 🙂

It’s cool to hear about the weekend adventures when my son comes home dirty and tired on Sunday night.  The variety of the trips is part of the fun, sometimes it’s fishing, other times it’s river canoeing or geo tracking.  The last trip was caving.  There are fires to build, knives to use, rocks to climb, and rivers to cross.  Overnights in a museum or a ski cabin are fun in the winter.   I love to see the look on his face and the excitement in his voice when he describes the unplugged fun.

So my thanks go to John, Angelo, and all the dads who hike off into the woods with tents, camp stoves and bug spray in tow, leading a line of tweens and teens into the great outdoors.

Musical pairing: “(Leave the) Great Indoors” by John Mayer, 2001.

GenX and March Madness

Most GenXers came of age in the 1980‘s, around the time the annual NCAA basketball tournament expanded, started widely using the term March Madness, and the tournament gained wider TV coverage with CBS and ESPN.  The tournament had been around for a long time prior, but was much smaller and in the shadow of the NIT.  The NCAA expanded the tournament field from 40 teams in the late 1970’s to 64 teams in 1985.

Think about it, did the Silent Generation or Boomers obsess over tournament bracket pools before us?  Nope.  As college students we thrilled to watch our teams get selected to the big dance and then cheer them on.  While I was in college, my team won the National Championship in the women’s bracket.  Those players became the first draftees of the WNBA.  I can only imagine how exciting a campus is these days when a team wins it all.

So why did March Madness evolve like this in the 1980s?  The realist in me immediately points to the TV revenue dollars.  There is no doubt that expanding the bracket expanded both the number of alumni who would watch, and the number of games televised.  TV coverage= revenue for the schools.  And yes, gambling is a negative part of the action too.

From a coaching standpoint, having 64 slots meant that it would be harder for Coach Wooten and UCLA to win year after year, which let’s admit it, was super boring for everyone who wasn’t a Bruin.

I’m a sports romantic that enjoys the backstories of the athletes that become heros, the Cinderella teams, and the inspirational coaches.  Maybe others are like me and are interested in the drama of the tournament.  There’s always surprises and upsets.  The tournament is primarily played by student athletes who will not become professionals.  Usually only a handful of players continue to play basketball after they exit the tournament stage as seniors.

The tournament is social too.  Coworkers at the office, families, friends and neighbors create pools to compete for the bragging rights of “best guesser” and “my team won.”  We do that at our house, it’s something fun to do with our sons.

GenXers have difficulty remembering a time before March Madness was a major part of our end of winter rituals.  We didn’t create the tournament, but we did embrace it as young adults and interacted with it as it evolved.

So best of luck everyone, may your team win… unless they are playing against my teams!  Enjoy the dance!

Musical pairing:  “We Are The Champions,” Queen, 1977 and “Getcha Head In The Game,” Drew Seeley, 2006.