Not everyone is a sports fan, but there are certain sporting events I think everyone should enjoy watching. March Madness is one such event -- for the simple reason that it's just that… MAD! Perhaps I'm a little biased because I went to a college with a great basketball history, who found their way back to the sweet 16 this year and gave me extra incentive to watch and cheer and scream my brains out last night. There is nothing like being a true fan and seeing your team succeed. I haven't really been a true fan of any professional team since I changed my dating habits, so my college team is all that's left. Luckily for me, they don't disappoint.
If you were watching the game last night (and if you weren't, what else could you have possibly been doing??), then you might have heard them mention what high school the team's star player, Derrick Williams, went to. La Mirada High. My school. It made me that much more proud to be a fan. You see, LMHS isn't your typical star-studded athlete hub, and we most certainly aren't known for our basketball prowess. The same could be said for track and field. This kid came out of high school the least recruited and heralded of his incoming class, and now he's the star player. I love that story for what it is, and I also love it because I can so easily relate to it.
Coming out of high school I was recruited, but I was by no means a superstar. There were some schools on my list who wouldn't give me a full scholarship because it seemed I was just an average athlete, who had the ability to contribute, but by no means be one of the best. As one coach so eloquently put it, "As a sprinter, you are a dime a dozen." Of course, no sprinter from that school in LA that wears blue and gold and contains the letters U,L,A,C ever beat me at a major meet, but that's besides the point.
What I love about the Arizona basketball team, March Madness, and sports in general, is that ultimately it comes down to you deciding your destiny. Duke was the #1 seed and Arizona was the #5 seed. Nobody except Charles Barkeley and U of A alum probably picked them to win the game in their brackets. But it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks your capable of, as long as you believe. There was a turning point in that game when the Arizona team made a decision. I made a similar decision my junior year at Nationals right before the final of the 200 meters. You simply decide you're going to win and you believe wholeheartedly, with every fiber in your being, that it's going to happen. And then it does. In the second half the team played like they knew they were going to win, and Duke simply didn't. I loved watching it and I loved it even more because it was my team.