Tuesday, March 15, 2011
In March of 1990, a precious and adorable 5th grader woke up on Thursday morning with a very bad sore throat and cough and stayed home from school to rest.
That Thursday at noon, a tradition began - one that continues 21 years later. On that day, I witnessed the opening of the NCAA Tournament, and I haven't missed it since.
Maurice Newby's shot actually occurred in the early afternoon the next day, lifting 14th-seeded Northern Iowa over Missouri, the #3 seed.
A year later, I was again stricken with an illness, albeit a less serious one that was embellished in order to stay home for the beginning of the tournament on Thursday. Proving how cool she was, my mother actually let me play in my Little League game on that Friday night despite staying home from school.
(Historical note: I pitched a complete game and had two doubles)
The following year (now in 7th grade) I was 100% healthy and put on the performance of a lifetime to stay home for the opening of the 1992 tournament.
Finally in 1993, Mama Sports Jerk caught on, and yet again demonstrated her unmatchable awesomeness by saying something like, "listen, I know the tournament starts today, if you don't have any tests, I'll call you out of school so you can watch."
Love you, Mom.
The 1990 tournament is famous for a few reasons. Bo Kimble honoring the late Hank Gathers by shooting left-handed free throws during Loyola Marymount's run to the Elite Eight. And UNLV's historic ass-whipping of Duke for the national title. Look for more on that before March is over, as well as a recap of how Rick Fox screwed me out of hundreds of dollars in my father's office pool that year.