Madness at Double Dogs

March 21, 2008

Justin Story

If this post doesn’t garner many views over the next day or two, I won’t blame anybody.

Everyone with a rooting (or passing, or even negligible) interest will be riveted to their TVs for the NCAA Tournament that opens today, and I include myself among them.

Instead of skipping out on work to do so, I’ll be joining WKU’s Warren County Alumni Chapter this Friday at Double Dogs on Scottsville Road to watch the Toppers take on Missouri Valley Conference upstart Drake in the first round.

This will likely go down in history as one of the most enjoyable assignments it has been my privilege to receive. Getting paid to watch the tournament? In years past, the tournament has been a money-losing venture for me, so this will be a great reversal.

It’s going to be interesting to see the collective mood swings of the crowd throughout what should be a competitive matchup. I should disclose that my principal sporting allegiance is with UK, but one tournament memory that sticks out is following Western’s march to the Sweet 16 in 1993. It was fascinating to watch my mom, a Western alumna but not the biggest sports enthusiast, hang on every shot, rebound and loose ball during the Hilltoppers’ wins over then-Memphis State and Seton Hall and overtime loss to Florida State that year.

The impact of March Madness on offices nationwide is well-documented. Even so, one is nearly tempted to consider the tourney a no-lose proposition in the white-collar world — office pools inevitably bring co-workers closer together, college towns nationwide morph into self-contained carnivals and the tournament has the singular quality of turning complete strangers with divergent backgrounds into best friends, all because of a mutual interest in seeing a particular first-round upset take shape.

Unfortunately, the best teams in college are so top-heavy this year that I don’t predict very many upsets in the early rounds. I will say, though, that WKU appears to have a favorable draw this year that may land them in the tournament’s second weekend.

What plans do you have for the tournament? How much of a difference is there in the daily life of Bowling Green when WKU is involved in March Madness?