Sunday, March 20, 2011

2nd Round Match-up of Florida State and Texas A&M
Is "March Madness" better observed from the comfort of your couch or in person at the site of the game? CBS and the Turner Family has made it easier for the fan at home to keep up with each game going on. For the first time this year every game is available live for those who receive CBS, TNT, TBS and Tru TV on their television, or online via CBS' March Madness on Demand. Now fans don't have to wait for their local CBS affiliate to switch to a game that is going down to the wire creating that "one shining moment." But in-arena experience is something you can't feel at home.

Whether you attend the women's or men's tournament, the experience of seeing a different fan base and their traditions is truly unique. An early exposure to this came in the early 90s when Carver Hawkeye Arena hosted a women's regional final between Connecticut and Tennessee. In the world of women's basketball Connecticut and Tennessee are women's basketball. Sitting amid the orange-clad fans I was filled with the sounds of Rocky Top. These fans travel far and wide with Pat Summit and her team. The same can be said of Connecticut as I found out less than ten years later in their home town of Storrs. The Iowa women's team played a first and second round on the campus of the Huskies. And during the Hawkeye game, which preceded UConn's, the filled to capacity crowd stood up in unison as Diana Turasi and her Huskie teammates made the walk to the locker room in preparation. Speaking with the locals afterwards, they had already made their plans for the regional site of Milwaukee, as advancing from their home court was a fore gone conclusion.

Last week my son and I had the opportunity to witness Notre Dame play Akron as well as Texas A&M take on Florida State in men's second round action at the United Center. Three of those four teams are known more for their play on the gridiron than that of a basketball court. But the traditions are the same, but to a lesser number. Notre Dame's fightin' leprechaun presided over the court leading their fans in one of the more recognizable fight songs, the "Notre Dame Victory March." This was followed by the Florida State Seminole chant that has all of their fans waving their arm in unison from their shoulder to the court. Not to be outdone the Texas A&M band played as their fans swayed back and forth to the Aggie War Hymn. In this 19,000 seat arena, the impact was lesser than if any of these took place at home in their football stadiums, but it was my first experience with any of these, something I wouldn't have had sitting at home.

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