Friday, March 27, 2009
'Nova Wins! We're off to the Great Eight, Baby!
March Madness continues, with Villanova University (my alma mater) rolling through Duke University last night to reach the Great Eight* of the NCAA Tournament. We now face Pittsburgh, one of our Big East rivals, and also the alma mater of my father-in-law.
* I know they call it the "Elite Eight" now, but when I went to school in the late 80s-early 90s, we called it the Great Eight. So Great Eight it will be.
Thanks to the combined glories of the Internet, broadband and Wi-Fi, we all got to watch Villanova beat UCLA (or Uck-La, as Thing One kept saying) on Saturday night in our dining room in London. Thanks CBS-March Madness on Demand! The exercise was an interesting one, not least because Thing One kept using English sports terminology to query or comment on the game. Some examples:
• "I bet their manager is really proud of them." (Said near the end, when Villanova was winning decisively. I pointed out that the manager in basketball is called a coach.)
• "When is the match over?" (Matches are football contests, games are for basketball and other sports.)
• "How many free kicks do they get?" (No free kicks in basketball, my friend.)
While I do love my Villanova Wildcats, my love has limits. This was evidenced last night at 1:57 a.m. when my mobile phone alarm rang to wake me up for the game. I thought to myself, "Just one more minute, then I'll get up," and then I rolled over and went back to sleep. But again, thanks to the combined glories of the Internet, broadband and Wi-Fi, the first thing I did this morning, from the comfort of my bed, was fire up my iPhone to see the results of the game.
This is a far cry from my first NCAA Tournament as an expat in 1999, when I had to spend an ungodly amount of money to buy a day-old USA Today in the Rome airport, just so I could see the brackets. Even just three years ago, I could "watch" a text play-by-play of the games, but couldn't see the actual action. Last year was the first time in nine years that I was able to actually SEE a college basketball game, and I was euphoric. This year the games are broadcast in HD, so it's EVEN BETTER.
I will be glued to my laptop on Saturday night at 11:05 p.m. GMT (literally Greenwich Meridian Time, since I live in Greenwich) to watch the Widlcats play the Panthers. Lucky for me, it does not conflict with Earth Hour, which we will be celebrating earlier in the night, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Unfortunately for me, I did not fill out a bracket this year. If I had, I would have had Villanova in the Final Four. Unfortunately for President Barack Obama, he had Villanova losing to Duke last night in his bracket. At least I'm not saddled with the quandary of having to sell a budget and yet another bank rescue plan.
Let the March Madness continue.