My love for sports is 100% because of this man.
He was a great athlete...and once he didn't play football or baseball or basketball, he officiated football and baseball and basketball...and once he didn't officiate football and baseball and basketball, he was the announcer for the Antlers Bearcats Football Team for many years !
My earliest memories of watching sporting events with him was when we lived in the boondocks of southeastern Oklahoma. We had an antenna and could receive two channels on our itty- bitty black and white TV: KXII TV out of Ardmore-Sherman-Denison, and KTEN out of Ada. To change the channels meant going outside and using a pipe wrench to twist the pole so the antenna faced a certain direction. I knew it was facing the right way when Daddy or Mom would yell, "That's it. Stop."
It was always a sad day when one of those "wind comes sweeping down the plain" kind of storms would blow the antenna over, landing it on the roof of our house or sending it sailing into Wren Shaw's pasture.
As long as I can remember, Daddy would always have the TV on with ANY kind of sporting event and the radio on at the same time listening to another event. There were many Saturdays when he had the TV on, the transistor radio on, and the car radio on, too. Sometimes it was my job to sit in the car and then come into the house to report the latest score. I loved it.
Once I was old enough, he 'taught' me how to run. Yes, there is a technique of running and he coached me. I can still see him running up and down the football field or basketball court in that striped zebra shirt. There was hardly a high school player who could out run him, even though he was several years older. He had those broad shoulders, tiny waist, and legs that were strong and churned like pistons. Emmitt Smith comes to mind.
He taught me sports etiquette. To this day, I have never booed a call and it sends me up the wall when the crowd does that. It also irks me that fans applaud unforced errors in tennis. In my tennis-playing-days, we just didn't do that.
So, what does all this about my dad have to do with March Madness ?
It means that the love he instilled in me for sports lives on today. Whether it's college basketball or football, the World Series, the Super Bowl, or Grand Slam Tennis, I'll be watching, if possible. Even though he's been gone almost thirty years, sometimes the urge hits me to reach for the phone, call him, and ask, "Hey, did you see that play?"
While filling out my brackets for The NCAA Basketball Tournament, there were those memories of when Daddy and I would predict scores for just about anything. He was usually the winner 90% of the time.
One of my strategies for choosing my teams was very scientific...watching Bracketology, taking notes, comparing what the experts said, and listening to Dick Vitale, which, for me, is like hearing fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.
But, my youngest daughter has the best strategy of all.
Here it is how she chose her teams for this year's March Madness Brackets:
I like Missouri and St. Louis because Natasha went to both.
Indiana will go far because they had that basketball movie.
UNLV beats Baylor because Vegas is cooler than Waco and there's more glitter in Vegas.
I have friends in Michigan so Michigan and Michigan St will win the First Round.
They make good baseball bats in Louisville, so I think they'll win.
Any team that shares my love for orange will get past the first round, so count Syracuse in for Round 2.
Kansas State will get to the Elite 8 because I love to see Jake and Hilary jump up and down and yell alot. EMAW
The President likes Harvard, so I'm rooting for an upset!
In a fight, a Seminole would slaughter a Longhorn, so sorry Texas you go down in Round 2.
Gonzaga goes far because I like to say GON-zaaahhh-GA!
Ohio State, the OTHER OSU. I guess I gotta make them get past the First Round. I can pretend it's my team in the tourney right?
Georgetown beats Belmont because last time I checked, Belmont was a horse race.
Even though I love Hardcore Pawn, I gotta go with Kansas in the First Round.
Wisconsin = cheese and I love me some cheese.
...and that is how I chose my bracket!
Her granddad would be so proud !