Connecticut is a tricky state when it comes to sports. It is in between New York and Boston, which means most of the sports fans are split. Growing up in the middle of the state, I had some friends who were Red Sox fans and others who were Yankee fans. The same goes for the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Connecticut didn’t have professional teams of its own. Well, there was the Hartford Whalers, but they are long gone. All Connecticut has is UCONN.
As you drive through neighborhoods you see UConn Flags, bumper stickers, signs and sweatshirts. March Madness is like a 2nd Christmas. You fill out your bracket, like your list for Santa. Families gather together, around the TV, ready to sing the cheers for our team. U-C-O-N-N UCONN UCONN UCONN!
I quickly realized that things are different here in Maine. On Monday at Morning Meeting one student announced “The bracket will be out today!”
My face lit up just as the rest of the class had a puzzled look.
“What is March Madness?” two students asked.
My jaw dropped. What? How could this be? I quickly explained the beauty of college basketball; the passion, and purity of the game. The single elimination, buzzer beaters, all free from overinflated egos. March Madness is the best time in sports!
At lunch later that day, I was shocked to see a lack of excitement among my colleagues about the upcoming tournament. It was quickly explained to me that there is only one Division I Basketball Team in Maine: University of Maine in Orono.
Then I did some Googling and saw that UMaine is on a list called “Never Made the Tourney Club 2016 edition” and read an article from 2014 in Newsweek with the title “Sorry State: Maine Has Never Made the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament”.
Oh no! I thought. Maybe next year will be the year for Maine! For now, LET’S GO UCONN!