Wasn't March a magnificent month? The long, mother-effin' winter is finally over, the daffodils are blooming, and the smell of postseason college basketball permeates the air. I have watched so much basketball the last two weeks, it's ridiculous. My favorite thing is the first weekend of the men's and women's tournaments, because for six straight days, Thursday through Tuesday, there is basketball happening at just about any given hour during the day.
And, OK, let's be honest — women's hoops is total lesbo eye candy. Young, fit, sweaty women running and pushing each other around? Good stuff. I'm not going to get specific and talk about individual players, because it was all well and good to have college hoops crushes when I was 25, but now it seems kind of gross. I mean, I'm not old, but I'm old enough that I shouldn't be crushing on 20-year-olds. Coaches, however, are fair game. This weekend was weird, because Gail Goestenkors' team was not in the Sweet 16. Goestenkors took Duke to the Sweet 16 the last 10 seasons. Now she's at Texas, where she has some rebuilding to do. They made the tournament, which looked iffy for quite some time, but got mauled by UConn in the second round. I don't have very many coach crushes (head coaches, anyway), but Coach G is always welcome on my TV. In the last couple of years she's been looking a bit, shall I say, pinched. But she's still a total cutie.
Anyway, the women's Final Four gets set tonight; LSU and Stanford are already in. Stanford's back in the Final Four for the first time since 1997, a year that lives in infamy for Stanford fans. The Cardinal lost a heartbreaker to Old Dominion in the semifinals, 83-82 in overtime. My first major hoops crush, Kate Starbird, had 21 points in the first half, then disappeared in the second half. I was a huge Stanford fan back then, and that game was one of the biggest sports letdowns of my life. I have it on tape, and I've never watched it. Kristin Folkl fouls out on a totally bogus call, Vanessa Nygaard misses a chippie that would have won it, Jamila Wideman (my second major basketball crush) misses a contested three at the buzzer ... It just suuuuuuucked. (Saddest post-game photo ever: Jamila and her mom. All these years later, I still want to give her a hug.) Of course, Old Dominion then laid an egg against Tennessee in the championship game. Not that I'm still bitter or anything. The last 10 years, I've been a fan, but each year it seems I've been less and less invested. Last year, when the Cardinal, as a No. 2 seed, got bounced out of the second round on their own home court, I decided I'd had enough. So when Monday night came around, I wasn't stressed out. If they lost, no big deal. Naturally, they pulled out a completely awesome win over Maryland. Just when I thought I was out ... they pull me back in! Damn. I'm actually going to the Final Four in Tampa, so it looks like I need to dig my Stanford gear out of the closet. Fair-weather fan? Guilty.