FINAL FOUR DREAMS
Ever since I was a kid watching Bobby Knight's Hurryin' Hoosiers beat Michigan for the 1976 NCAA Championship, I have been hooked on The Final Four. To me, The Final Four ranks alongside The Rose Bowl, The Super Bowl and The Masters as one of the greatest annual sporting events in our country. These are not best-out-of-seven events like championships in the NHL, MLB, and NBA, but rather contests that will be decided by great play on that given day. There is no room for error and no mistake goes unpunished (or unnoticed). This is no holds barred bare-knuckle athletic competition at it's finest. In addition, these are events that an entire nation watches - no matter who is playing…Cinderella or King Kong. This one looks like a brawl in the banana patch…Cinderella missed the ball in '07.
On Saturday night at 6:07 EST, one of my childhood dreams will come true; experiencing a Final Four in-person. The fact that my alma mater, The Ohio State University, is a participant makes it even more special, but, regardless, it's going to be a fantastic thrill for me. I am looking forward to the intense emotions, terrific pageantry, skillful displays of athleticism, and great coaching that The Final Four always delivers. The goal is simple: just win two games.
This is the stage where Villanova upset mighty Georgetown in '85…and Chris Webber called a timeout he didn't have in '93…and Keith Smart hit a 15-foot jump shot to beat Syracuse in '87…and Texas Western beat Adolph Rupp's Wildcats in '66. It's also a stage that hosted the rise of the UCLA Dynasty…the appearance of long-shot George Mason in '06…the craziness of Jimmy V. running around the court looking for someone to hug in '83…it's all there - the rich history of collegiate basketball - just waiting (like me) for a new chapter to be written.
One thing that sets The Final Four apart from the other great events is the fact that there is no shame…no bad outcomes. Are the losses painful? You bet. But seldom has the word "choked" been applied to a player or team in the Final Four. The favorite usually doesn't win this thing - they are usually beaten and bloodied, but always unbowed. I can see Coach K. consoling Trajan Langdon at the end of Dukes loss to UCONN in '99…tears and pain a plenty, but pride intact.
Enjoy the spectacle of The Final Four where, like in dreams, all things are possible.
Having said that, I've got to believe...Let's Go Bucks!