In the grand scheme of American sports, there is no bigger event than the Super Bowl. Even non-football fans have their interest piqued by the build-up and non-stop advertisements and promotions. You can not buy a bag of chips in the two weeks leading up to the game that do not have an NFL logo on them. Second to the Super Bowl has to be the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, or March Madness as it is also known. All over the States today, work productivity will be greatly diminished as millions of fanatics and casual fans fill out their brackets and throw five, ten, or twenty bucks into a pool. It is inescapable. I even pay the fee for my two assistants to enter our building pool. They don't watch a night of basketball a year usually, but, at tournament time, they are glued to the results. The field is 64 teams which play a single elimination tournament over three weekends. Win six games and you are deemed national champion. Lose once, go home and think of next year. Much like the FA Cup, David has to play Goliath on occasion. This tournament is seeded though, so the better teams usually avoid each other for the first few rounds. Today, tiny Radford will play mighty North Carolina-Chapel Hill, multi-time National Champion and former stop of Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Phil Ford. UNC-CH will probably be playing without their best player, Ty Lawson. He is expected to miss the first two rounds with a toe injury and hoped to return in time for the Sweet Sixteen. Will his absence be enough to let Radford sneak away with a victory? Not a chance, but at least they have a shot. If you get the chance, try to catch a few games. Be sure to study the kid's faces. While it is just a game to most of us, to them, it is deadly serious business.
Why talk of basketball on a soccer blog? Well, the MLS has decided to start their season today with the New York Red Bulls playing at the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders are the newest team in the league and may signify the start of something grand. They sold 22,000.00 season tickets and cut off sales to ensure there would be single game seats available. That may not sound like much to a big-club soccer fan, but in a city with an NFL and Major League Baseball franchise, not to mention a large University with a rabid following, I think it is pretty impressive. I have always wanted to live in Seattle, and a viable MLS club would make it even more attractive. To start your season when every casual sport's fans eye is going to be on the NCAA tournament is just silly. Who is running this league and why don't they have access to a computer to look at schedules for things that might conflict with the opening of a season that is vitally important. Hey MLS! I have a computer and can help if you need it. Just send an e-mail.