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On March Madness


Ah, the last day of Easter Week and coincidentally “March Madness.” Have you ever wondered how the name for the NCAA Division I championship came to be? In the next paragraph I will explain. 

MM, begun in 1939, was actually the second national college basketball tournament after the National Invitational Tournament came to be in 1938, When I was growing up in the New York City area the NIT was the premier post-season tournament. I remember teams such as St. Bonaventure, NU, Princeton (when Bill Bradley played there), St. Peter’s, and others who today are more second tier DI teams who rarely get into “The Show.”

Then the NCAA tournament took over as THE tournament to strive for after Wilt Chamberlain played for Kansas. Then players like Jerry Lucas, Ohio State, oh I mean The Ohio State University for you Buckeye fans, and the Big O, Oscar Robertson at Cincinnati came on the scene and the rest is history. 

In 1979, a reporter wrote about the Illinois High School state tournament and noted the games as “March Madness.” In 1982, Brett Musberger spoke about that year’s series as “March Madness.” As you might suspect, a lawsuit ensued regarding the use of the name. It was judicially settled and the term has taken hold every spring for college basketball.

To be honest, the name is so appropriate as there have been surprising upsets almost every year and 2021 is no exception—which brought to mind where the best basketball was being played. Witness UCLA’s rise from a play-in position to the Final Four after upsetting Michigan. The Elite Eight had three teams from the PAC12 with two California schools USC, UCLA and Oregon advancing. Of the Final Four, two schools from Texas. Yes, Texas where football is king, almost a religion. Not one school east of the Mississippi. As I said, growing up in the East is why I took special note of the lack of schools from that part of the country.

Where is the PAC 10 or the ACC or the SEC? All AWOL. No former national champions such as Duke or North Carolina, Ohio State, LSU, Kentucky. Has roundball followed Horace Greeley’s suggestion to “Go West young man”? Now add to this that the Women’s Championship game had two schools from the PAC12, Stanford and Arizona with the Wildcats providing the biggest upset in handing number one ranked UCONN an exit ticket. Congratulations to the Cardinal as the Wildcats almost pulled off the upset of the year. I think I heard Bill Walton yelling “The PAC12 conference of champions” as he so often said doing color commentary during TV games. As much as I was pulling for UCLA, I have to agree with Charles Barkley that the championship game should be between the two best teams in the country Gonzaga and Baylor. Can’t wait for that game to start.

A hearty welcome to Escondido’s new City Manager Sean McGlynn, who will be moving here from Santa Rosa. Although Santa Rosa is in Northern California, Escondido shares similarities with the Sonoma County city. I believe our Center for the Arts to be superior to the one in SR, although they have the Charles Schulz Museum (Snoopy), and Stone Brewing to be superior to their craft beer breweries but I must concede I doubt our local wineries compete with Francis Ford Coppola, Kendall Jackson, Korbel and others in the SR area although Clay and Adam Phillips, owners of Keys Creek Winery or Forgotten Barrel owner Rodger Grove might disagree.

Both cities have voting districts however one thing that might make McGlynn’s job a bit easier is we have only five council members whereas Santa Rosa has nine to contend with which will allow him more time to do the job for which he was hired—which is to manage the day to day city operations. With this new hire, Jeff Epp, long time City Attorney and City Manager will finally have the opportunity to officially retire. Congratulations to both.

The other day I drove by the old “duck pond” along Felicita Avenue near Felicita Park. I was hoping to see momma duck with her ducklings crossing the road and stopping traffic which seemed to be almost a daily occurrence. Apparently not time for their bath. Just something else unique about Escondido.

I’m getting a backlog in personalized plates so here goes. No idea for SURB, TSIND3, CU4SNST, LAEUPS, STLHD01 or SEN1ONO. It appears we are getting closer to some sort of normalcy in our lives. I sure hope so. Stay well.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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