Tag:March Madness
Posted on: March 21, 2009 11:37 am
Edited on: March 21, 2009 11:44 am

March Mayhem Essay Contest Round 1 (bye)

Member Mayhem Message Board (go vote)

"What is your favorite moment in March Madness history, and why?"

The year is 2000. Michigan State is playing Florida for all the marbles. It is a hotly contested game and both teams are reaching deep to keep up their intensity. Then it happens. Mateen Cleaves is hit and falls, hurting his ankle, a bad sprain. He his taken from the floor to the locker room. Both teams are shell shocked. The heart and soul of the Spartan team is gone. 16:18 to go. Somehow the Spartans hang on and stay in the game.

A short while later, about 4 minutes, Cleaves returns. He his hobbling. The crowd cheers his return. To everyone's surprise he goes right out on the floor. He is slow. He limps. He can't do much at all for the team, but he does everything. It does not matter. The Spartans play on in a 4 against 5 game. He is the icon, the inspiration. The game ends, the score 89 to 76. The Spartans win.

Pandemonium ensues.

Then the TV camera zooms on Mateen. His face is wet with his own tears.

I recall my dad exclaiming, "Look at that kid crying!"
I turned to my dad, my own tears streaming and replied, "Dad, he just played the game of his life."

We all know the history after this. Izzo bought the floor and the Spartans went through the 2000 and 2001 seasons unbeaten at home and finally succumbed to Wisconsin on January 12, 2003, 63 to 64, nearly 3 years since the floor was installed.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 21, 2009 11:35 am

Member Mayhem Essay Contest Qualifying Round

Member Mayhem Message Board (go vote)

"Why I love college basketball."

The Spartans of Michigan State have owned my family coming onto 100 years. Of all the athletics, basketball takes the crown. The speed, grace, agility, talent, sweat, and pride shown by the players everyday in practice or in contest is an inspiration to achieve, to be part of the team, to demand more of yourself than you have left to give. I've seen Magic, the Flintstones, and the nets cut down and banners raised twice: 1978-9 and 1999-2000, something my parents and grandparents never saw.

Basketball is special with the elegant of blend agility, speed, power, and grace coupled with skill, intelligence, discipline, and team work. Power under refined control is a living art form. The dynamics of tactical situations coupled with the strategic are engrossing. Five playing cohesively as one is a well choreographed ballet. The crowd of spectators is right at the edge of the game with no glass or wall between them and the action. The constant action and the frenzied cheers make Beethoven's 5th seem like a ballad. The Ride of the Valkyries is not as stirring as living the moment of a well shot 3-pointer or a brute force slam dunk.

Unlike professional ball, the college game allows teams to play 2-way ball and good defensive makes college basketball dynamic, high-energy, exciting and just plain fun. The kids play for pride. The fans cheer out of pride. There is nothing else like it and nothing else will ever be quite as good.

Category: NCAAB
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