Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small balls

I made my annual visit to the NAIA Men's Basketball Tournament. I remember going down to Kemper Arena w/ my dad when ever his Alma Mater (Fort Hays State) would play. The NAIA moved out of town in 1993, only to return a few years later in 2001. Since the return, we have managed to make it to at least one session every year.

Monday night was the Final Four. Rocky Mountain (Montana) vs. Robert Morris (Illinois). It was a fun game that went down to the wire, before Rocky Mountain pulled out a 5 point win. There was a quiet buzz during the game, as fans were settling in for the second game. Columbia College vs. MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kansas). Municipal Auditorium was a sea of red, as fans came out in droves to support the local team.

It was kind of exciting, because there is rarely much energy in the crowd for these games, other than family members that make the sometimes long trip to KC. The other folks that make up the crowd are local basketball junkies. An interesting breed to say the least.

But tonight was different. At least it was until 3 seconds after the opening tip off. MidAmerica Nazarene University Super Fan Asshole #1 was seated directly behind me and proceeded to scream for the next 90 minutes. If I had to guess, the guy was in his late 40's or early 50's. It's possible he had a kid on the team, but judging from how quickly he bolted as soon as the clock hit :00, I doubt it. The clown spent the entire game screaming at the refs and harassing the opposing teams players. On more than a few occasions, his wife had to tell him to calm down.

I remember in high school there were a few dads like that. The funny thing is, we all felt sorry for the kid. You know the kid was embarrassed as Hell when he could hear his old man screaming that Johnny should be in the game or the refs were blind. Obviously, the guy had issues starting with his own athletic inabilities and ending with a small dick. If he was such a blowhard at a JV basketball game, imagine what he was like when Johnny brought home a report card full of C's? I bet there was a belt or a whiskey bottle involved.

I have one rule when I go to the NAIA every year... cheer for, but never against. This isn't Big Time College Basketball. No flat screens in the locker rooms and no chartered flights. Most of the teams probably spent 10 hours on a bus , driving in from god knows where to play in this tourney. To make it deep in to the tourney, you have to win 4 or 5 games in as many days. So I imagine they are all banged up, tired and frankly a little bored with the bright lights of Kansas City. The least we as fans can do, is cheer them on.

I'm sorry to report, that once I had a handle on what MidAmerica Nazarene University Super Fan Asshole #1 was going to be like, I cheered for the visitors from Columbia MO (no easy task as a KU guy).

Every time MidAmerica Nazarene University Super Fan Asshole #1 thought a foul went against his team and he asked me what I thought, I made sure to let him know I thought it was a good call. It's like the guy was simply daring me to point out what a douche bag he was.

As for the game itself, it was pretty close. Seemed as though every time a team made a run, the other team made it up and took the lead. Back and forth all night. Finally, Columbia College grabbed the lead and held on despite some last minute heroics from MNU. Fun game and a great ending. Hate to admit it, but the fact that MidAmerica Nazarene University Super Fan Asshole #1's team lost, made it just a little bit better.

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