Friday, October 16, 2009

Midnight Madness Continues to Be Awesome Event

Usually in sports, the beginning of training camp or practice is a time for celebration. Baseball fans covet the day that pitchers and catchers report to spring training. NFL fans flock to various training camp sites to root for their team. In college football, fans fill stadiums to watch scrimmages.

But none of that is like Midnight Madness to me. The event, which has been around nearly two decades, has become the top of the heap. Arenas all over this country will be filled with rabid fans as they see their favorite teams start up again.

In college basketball, there is both tremendous turnover and tremendous exposure. At North Carolina tonight, fans will finally get the opportunity to see John Henson perform in Carolina blue after years of waiting for his arrival. The timid freshmen of a year ago come out of their shell to become confident veterans. Seniors begin to latch onto the all the memories of their final season. Hope is high.

The only gripe I have about Midnight Madness is the makeup of the crowd. Usually, the tickets are free to give away. However, you could go on eBay or Craig's List to find people selling the ducats. To me, the event should be about the students first and foremost. Many of the big-time programs have to turn some students away in order to sell to the high rollers. This is a free event that represents the pride of your school and should be celebrated by those actually attending the university.

The only Midnight Madness I went to was waaaaay back in 1993. I was a freshman at UNC-Charlotte and attended the Madness (back when it actually was held at midnight) with a couple of my friends. I don't remember much except for the party feel in the arena. This was my school; these were my peers. A couple of those on that team were in my Psych class. Also back then, they actually practiced.

Now the event is so much more fun. The festivities start around 7:30pm and there are skits and dancing and the coaches are getting into the act a little more. Instead of dull practicing, there are scrimmages and dunk contests. It's all part of the college experience for both the fans and the players.

I'm not against others getting in and I understand that if a broke student has a free ticket worth $100 to someone else he should sell it. I just rather they let as many students as they can in and raffle off the other tickets.

Either way, bring on the newest college basketball season and ... GO HEELS!

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