Nobody likes the bully. The type of person who doesn’t just enjoy winning, but can’t be happy unless they are making everyone else feel like crap while they win? Those are the types of people no one likes. And they’re the types of sports teams I hate.
I’ve always rooted for the underdog. Nothing is more compelling than a David vs Goliath match-up. That’s what made my senior year of college so awesome. NCAA Tournament: tiny St. Bonaventure vs basketball powerhouse Kentucky.
David had Goliath on the ropes, but Goliath forced overtime. Goliath had David on the ropes in overtime, but our underdog incredibly forced double overtime. In double overtime, David’s last rock was just off the mark and Goliath limped into the next round.
It was drama. A roller coaster of emotion for four hours. It was legendary on our tiny campus. And that’s why I didn’t want to go to some big huge school like Kentucky or North Carolina, Texas, LSU or Ohio State. A win by St. Bonaventure would have been incredibly special. And it was just another game for Kentucky.
Every where I’ve gone, Goliath has been around the corner.
At St. Bonaventure, there was Syracuse a few hours away: A basketball power that refused to play us in our arena.
At Dayton, there was Ohio State an hour away: Big, Rich and pompous, demanding to be called THE Ohio State University? (There’s like 25 state universities in Ohio)
Also at Dayton, Cincinnati was an hour south: With a thug reputation, and a ringleader when Dayton’s entire conference left UD behind to join a new league. At Dayton, we hosted the NCAA Tournament, and I’ll never forget what a jerk Roy Williams was and how glad I was George Mason beat North Carolina.
When I was working outside of Austin, there was Texas looming over everyone.
At Tulane, an hour up the river was LSU. Being around LSU fans sums up what I’m talking about nicely.
There’s 12 Division I schools in Louisiana, and two fan bases: Tulane’s and LSU’s. No one roots for Tulane who didn’t go there or work there. I’ve met one guy who roots for LSU and actually went to LSU (Hi, Eric).
I don’t understand people like the non-Eric LSU fans. Think about rooting for one of those big schools. They win most the time, there’s nothing special about it. They’re bigger and richer than everyone else. They’re rooting for Goliath.
I HATE those schools because they have no souls.
**If you think that’s harsh, think of Al Michael’s voice for a second saying: “…3…2…1…Do you believe in Miracles? NO! USSR Crushes the United States Olympic Hockey Team 14-1!” **
St. Bonaventure played Xavier in the A-10 finals today. For the Bonnies, it was win and get into the NCAA Tournament. Lose and you’re watching on TV. Xavier sure isn’t Goliath. They’ve just made it out of our conference to tangle with Goliath a lot more than we have. But still, it’s the type of game we never win. Literally, we’d never won an Atlantic 10 Tournament.
I found myself praying for a mini miracle.
So here we are. 12 years after my alma mater’s David vs Goliath battle with Kentucky. St. Bonaventure pulls of a mini-Cinderella run just to GET to this year’s NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Bracket comes out and at first I am mad, because the NCAA thinks the Bonnies are an extremely weak David. But if we can beat Xavier in a game we never win, maybe with one good rock we can take down a Goliath.
I pull out my pencil to make my picks, and scan the progression from the line that says 14 St. Bonaventure to the end of the bracket:
Round of 64: 3 seed Florida State
Round of 32: 6 seed Cincinnati or 11 seed Texas
Sweet 16: 2 seed Ohio State
Regional Final: 1 seed North Carolina
National Semifinal: 1 seed Syracuse
National Championship: 1 seed Kentucky
Eight things in life is a lot to ask for. So I’ll only ask for seven:
LSU can wait, if we can just have six huge rocks and perfect aim.