March has always been one of my favorite months of the year. Spring starts to thaw out winter which this year in the states has not been much of a winter. The weather is getting warmer the trees are starting to bud, but the grass is not quite growing fast enough that I have to spend precious weekend time mowing it. As a teacher, March signals the beginning of the end, but the pressure of testing has not hit its fever pitch yet so teaching is still fun in March. And the crème de la crème of the month, at least for sports fans, March Madness the greatest month long sporting event outside of the Olympics and the World Cup.
March Madness has always had a special spot in my heart because when I was little when the Big 8 Basketball Tournament rolled around I knew that I was going get a day off of school to go see some great games of basketball being played at the old Kemper Arena in Kansas City. For a little boy who loved basketball there were not many other things in life at that age that could compare. Just thinking about it now brings back a smile to my face. Seeing those players run out onto the floor, while their school bands played, and the roar of the crowd it just did not get much better than that.
I remember a little bit about the games that I saw and one or two of the ticket stubs are in box of mementos from my childhood but it was not just the tournament that made the day special. What made those days highlights of my childhood was getting to spend some one-on-one time with my dad. My dad is not the most talkative person that I have ever been around, which is not a bad thing, it is just the way he is. However, on that day seeing four games of basketball together we had a chance to talk even if it was mostly about a play or player and especially about the Kansas Jayhawks. I would not trade those days for anything in fact if I recall I am sure that I tried to talk him into going for each day of the tournament and being an adult now and paying for those tickets myself I understand why we did not. I am sure glad that we went, and getting to spend an entire day with him watching basketball and talking about it was just priceless.
Occasionally, I will still go to the Big 12 Tournament when it is in town and I can get “reasonable” tickets. While I still enjoy it and get excited about going it just feels different now. As I kid I could sit there and not have other things on my mind like my job, family, or other responsibilities. It may never be as pure as it was when I was kid, but March has a special spot in my heart, and every year when it comes around I get excited about the basketball tournaments and fill out the brackets and for short brief instant get to relive a part of my childhood that was special to me. For that reason March will always be a wonderful time of year.
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