Friday, March 16, 2012

The Walk

I wrote that previous post before even being outside. That was just based on texts, Facebook posts, and CBS' pregame show.

Step out of my hotel room and the world explodes into Madness.

Dozens of Gael alums decked out in red. Shirts saying "It's all about the G" and "God is a Gael," getting a bit snugger in the buffet line.

Unofficial t-shirts being sold near the entrance. One for $23 or 2 for $40. They're essentially steals in the price-gouging world of playoff sports.

Of course, I grab a pair.

-- --

Step outside and the mildly humid morning air hits less like a slap in the face and more like a pat on the back. "Welcome to Omaha. Home of Madness for the next three days."

The city streets are quiant, wide open, inviting. The past 48 hours, however, they've been almost always empty. Not today. Stoplights halt cars for hundreds of feet, parking lots are packed to capacity, thousands are walking the sidewalks, emblazoned in the colors of their college.

There are two 2-seeds in Omaha and both are standout programs with hopes for the next three weeks. Missouri and Kansas. I'm not a geography expert, but those two campuses can't be too far away. Those Tigers and those Jayhawks are wearing their spirit loud and proud.
I think Mizzou fans are taking their SEC-inclusion a little to quickly. I saw a man dressed in a repugnant gold and black jacket. It's some monstrosity that Craig Seger might wear. He is calling this game, so maybe it's on loan.

-- --

Either way, any excitement I had an hour ago, is now quintupled.

Fans are here, the games are closer to tip off, and the reality of Madness is kicking in.

Every fan across the country has one hope and one belief:
The Hope-- Each wants to see an upset, to see the established order toppled, to see a 15 take down a 2, to see an unknown beat down a familiar.
The Belief-- Anything can happen. My team has a chance to put together six wins and cut down the nets in the Big Easy. It can happen if I believe hard enough.

That's the spirit for the thousands filing in here, the tens of thousands in other arenas across the country, and the millions across America who are either watching at home cheering loud, or at work minimizing browser tabs when the boss walks by and covertly wearing their team's colors.

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