TAG | March Madness
With the Duke Blue Devils and Butler Bulldogs set to meet in the NCAA college basketball championship tomorrow, I join the ranks of those rooting for Butler. Not only are the Bulldogs the underdog, which we all love to cheer for, but Duke is just one of those teams that it is so easy to hate. The New England Patriots, New York Yankees, and Detroit Red Wings come to mind as similar teams. The common theme in teams asking to be hated: being good for a while, developing a bandwagon of a fan base, and being somewhat arrogant and entitled during your successes.
I must confess: I used to actually like Duke, as the only two basketball players to come from Alaska both played there. However, once I made it to a school with a competing interest, I quickly jumped ship and joined the anti-Duke ranks.
Now, while myself, and certainly every sports fan out there, will root against certain teams and players, there really needs to be some unwritten code of conduct in doing so. Fag jokes and trying to spark rumors about a player’s sexuality? Not cool. At all.
I never really considered Duke, or any player/team, to be a target of such pathetic behavior, but a friend pointed out this article from The New Republic. The article is now a year old, but it mentions two premiere players on Duke’s current championship-contending roster—Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer—as victims of the immature tactics. Since I’m sure this type of nonsense still goes on today, and now that I’ve been informed, I have to at least mention it and challenge it.
I realize you may hate Duke and countless other teams. I realize you think they’re elitist and entitled. You can see it on their faces or the way they play the game (often beating your preferred team, no doubt). Well, hate them and root against them for those reasons, but keep the gay slurs to yourself.
If you’re curious for my pick for the game: I think Duke’s going to win the game with ease. The combination of Scheyer, Singler, and Smith is really, really tough to defend. They play well inside and outside, they play smart, they play solid defense, and they are coached by one of the best in the business. Still rooting for Butler, but it’s going to be tough.
Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for winning Super Bowl 44. I am a fan of both these teams, but needing some factor to push the scales towards one team for rooting interests, the Scott-Fujita-Effect was pivotal.
When Fujita voiced his support for the National Equality March this past October (and gay rights in general), he noted, “For me, in my small platform as a professional football player, I understand that my time in the spotlight is probably limited.” I hope that in becoming a Super Bowl champion, his platform is enlarged, and that he seizes the opportunity to continue being an advocate for us.
Now, the bad news: for those of you like me, the end of the NFL season is the worst time of the year. Yes, I know pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a few weeks, March Madness is right around the corner, and the end of the NBA season can be exciting as we get into the summer months. We even get a bonus this year with the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. But those only provide a blip on the calendar to ease the frustrations of the NFL off-season, at least in my world.
There needs to be a support group for people like me, as these are the only dates I’m really interested in:
- February 24 – Combine
- April 22 – Draft
- Early May – Rookie Camps
- Early June – Mini-Camps
- Late July – Training Camps
- August – Preseason
- September – Regular Season (can’t come fast enough…)