If you’re a hoops fan—read, “basketball”—then Mid March through late May is one of the great times of the year. It begins with the my favorite sporting event of the year, the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament, starting this Thursday. There are only two local teams in the Men’s Tournament this year: The Pitt Panthers and Robert Morris Colonials, but nonetheless much of the sports talk in the city for the next couple of weeks will be centered around college hoops (with perhaps some hockey excitement too).
I moved to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia, where I went to high school for my freshman and sophomore year. When I was a sophomore, the school District of Philadelphia had just made a deal with a media company that provided the Channel One Network. The deal was this: the company would mount small televisions in each and every classroom in the school (a big thing back then, this was 1992!); and each morning in homeroom, the students had to watch the “Channel One Network” for 12 minutes. Channel One wanted to have the undivided attention middle and high school students for those 12 minutes every morning. I remember watching some brief news stories, and some quizzes (my 13 year old self mostly just slept through them) but I remember at least half of the 12 minutes being devoted to chips and soda commercials, you know what a lot of High Schoolers ate for lunch every day. While many parents, mine included, protested having their teens being forced to watch the televisions every day, I was mostly indifferent to having to watch (or not watch) the segments every morning.
But when the NCAA tournament in March came around, several of our teachers let us watch some of the afternoon NCAA tournament games in class. There were many local Philly teams to root for: Temple, St Joesephs, LaSalle, and Villanova. I remember spending a chemistry class watching my then-favorite team Seton Hall beat LaSalle in the first round on Terry Dehere’s last second jumper. A great high school memory.
Nowadays, while not many teachers will put on an afternoon game in class, you can watch tournament games online in their entirety, either as they’re being played, or days afterward at the CBSSports March Madness On Demand site. So whether you’re rooting for Robert Morris to pull an upset against My Villanova Wildcats, or think that this is finally the year Pitt wins it all, let the games begin!
By the way, Go ‘Nova!