JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: March means many things to many people. "In like a lion, out like a lamb." Lent. St. Patrick's Day (also my sister's birthday! Happy Birthday, Barb!) If you're a high school junior, SAT prep classes. If you're marrying in the summer, last chance to nail down those rentals. In my household, however, March means one thing and one thing only:
NCAA College Basketball Championships.
I did not grow up a devotee of March Madness. My father is one of those rare men who has no interest in sports. When in high school, I dated a basketball player, but I met him at District Choral competition. All my college boyfriends were artsy guys who took me to experimental theatre and foreign film festivals. I had a vague tribal loyalty to Syracuse hoops, but unless I was hanging out with friends who had the game on, I never followed the season.
Then I met Ross. A Georgetown grad, on our second date he took me to a GU-Arkansas game. "Our place" was a sports bar in Georgetown with five-inch-thick burgers and TVs on every wall. I learned terms like "Big East" and "three-pointer" and "zone defense." Ever the romantic, the first gift he bought me, as we walked back to my house on a chilly March evening, was a navy-and-gray scarf. With a picture of a bulldog on it.
Reader, I married him. Since then, I've learned to love Saturday afternoons in front of the television, roars of approval that frighten the cats, and family room decor that includes a giant polystyrene finger that reads HOYA SAXA - lovingly preserved for over twenty-five years. I've learned to never assume Ross will be available without first checking the game schedule. Fortunately -- or was it planning? -- none of the children were born this month. Given the choice between the delivery room and a Final Four game, I'm not sure Ross would have gone with the kid.
How about you, Reds? Are you fans? Married to fans? Waving fans?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, I'm from Indiana. There's that. And now live in Boston. There's that. And my husband is from New York. There's that. So no way to we escape sports. Once, dear Reds, I even watched a WHOLE hockey game, and enjoyed it.
And do I get to say: What the hell's a Hoya?
JULIA: It means "What Rocks" in Latin and Greek. Don't ask me why.
HANK: As for March Madness..let me just say Jonathan and I have dueling brackets. And I'm not gonna tell you who I picked. Even though I do it by "a bear could beat an eagle" type of decision-making, as of this instant, they are still contenders. By the end of Sunday, who knows. Crossing fingers.
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh we're crazy for March Madness--but in Connecticut we're basketball crazy all year. We follow UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma's recruiting efforts and start mourning the graduation of our favorite stars when they begin their sophomore years. We couldn't get over how one of our future stars, a recruit from Delaware, bailed out of the UConn machine and went home to play for Delaware. (She's making news there now--traitor.)
One year not too long after John and I were married, I cut out a full-sized photo of Geno and taped it on the wall over our bed. Honestly it took him 2 days before he noticed it, but then we laughed for days. He could understand a crush like that--after all, Geno shapes our FAMILY every year!
(PS we like watching the guys too, with Coach Calhoun, but those players rotate off the team so quickly, it's hard to get too attached.)
HALLIE EPHRON: March Madness? Not so much. Basketball games make me nervous. Too much running back and forth too fast... to put a technical spin on it. I'm more a baseball fan. I watch the first two innings of every Red Sox game and sleep through the rest.
I do have a soft spot for college hockey. My husband and my first date was a semi-finals college hockey game between Cornell and I can't remember who in New York's Madison Square Garden. I went to see a pro game a few years later and it seemed like an entirely different sport.
What I REALLY can't understand is why anyone would watch a golf game. Playing golf I can just barely get my arms around. But watching one? Can someone 'splain me that? Lucy??
JAN BROGAN - My son was a high school basketball player, so I spent a LOT of time watching him and loving it. I've also been to a lot of Celtics games, especially in the 80s, but in March, my mind turns to spring training and my true obsessions, BASEBALL. I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan and that leaves precious little time for anything else. Except tennis, which I also love to watch. So just finished with the Indian Wells tournament and waiting for the French Open... And Hallie, I don't get the watching golf either. Or Monster Trucks, for that matter.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: My father watched golf, horse racing, and football, in that order. I stuck with the horse racing. I'm with Hallie on the golf... But my daughter played both girl's softball and soccer, and in the process I fell in love with baseball. (One of these days the Texas Rangers are gonna win the Series, they really are!) I like watching soccer but have trouble keeping up with who's who. Basketball totally confuses me. I don't think I've ever even been to a basketball game. All my friends, and my daughter, are basketball crazy, so I'm sure I must be missing out.
My husband, by the way, doesn't watch any sports at all. He likes camping videos on You Tube. Go figure.
I, however, to uphold my sporting reputation, will be watching the Summer Olympics obsessively.
And the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race. (That's rowing, as you might have guessed:-))
JULIA: Camping videos? Camping videos? And I thought "What Rocks" was strange. How about you, dear readers? Have you filled out your bracket?