Lori Bjork loves "March Madness"
March 17, 2007
Throughout the season, select Illinois women's basketball players will reveal what life is like behind the scenes in a periodic Women's BasketBlog. In the eighth edition of the season Lori Bjork talks about her childhood NCAA Tournament memories and the team's mindset heading into the Utah game.
Women's BasketBlog // March 17, 2007 // Lori Bjork
When I agreed to write a blog this weekend (my trusty schoolwork excuse went over like a lead balloon since we are on spring break next week), I decided that I would do my best to avoid all education-related topics and strive to keep my jumble of thoughts (which, aside from my overuse of parentheses and run-on sentences, have at times masqueraded as academic writing) confined to basketball. Of course, this time of year, that means talking about the NCAA tournament. In celebration of the first two rounds of the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, I have refused to turn off the television or even relinquish control of the remote while typing. I would have liked to let my apartment-mate Danielle handle the channel flipping, but let's just say she hasn't proven to have the remote control in the palm of her hand (i.e. you end up watching more commercials than games when she is in charge). I hope everyone takes this multitasking into account before criticizing the lack of literary quality in this piece. Believe me, trying to write coherently with the ranting of Billy Packer or the slow drawl of Van Chancellor blaring from the TV in the background is quite a challenge.
All lifelong sports' fans have their own NCAA tournament memories. Some might remember calling in sick to school on Thursday and Friday to watch the games all day (not me, I assure you...my mom and sister are both teachers). I remember reenacting Valparaiso's length-of-the-floor Bryce Drew buzzer-beater with my friends for years after seeing the play unfold live. We took turns playing Bryce Drew, even doing the celebratory head-first slide on the floor (or in the grass, since the cement driveway didn't look so forgiving). On Championship Monday (now that my parents let me stay up for the whole game), I always wait through all the postgame coverage until CBS signs off with the "One Shining Moment" tribute (before all of you run out to buy the CD for my birthday next month, it's too late - my parents gave it to me a few years back). I can't tell you how disgusted I was that one year in the mid-90s when CBS used "Hakuna Matata" for the video montage instead. I also remember trying to find a place to watch the women's championship game every year since my family didn't have cable.
Today's games reminded me of my favorite NCAA fashion statement: the crazy, multicolored neutral courts. Right now I am trying to watch the Butler-Maryland game, but the court coloration in Buffalo is proving to be a real distraction. Inside the three-point line, the court is slate blue, the lane is turquoise, and the baseline is navy blue. The deep blue NCAA logo at half court (just in case you forgot which corporation was running the tourney) completes the clashing, hodge-podge of colors. (Oops, I just blew my cover as an undercover agent in the Fashion Police). I guess you can add court decorator to my list of potential career aspirations.
If you are having trouble reading between the lines here, let me help you: my teammates and I sure wish we were playing in the NCAA tournament. However, please don't read into that last sentence that we are unmotivated or disinterested in the WNIT (maybe I should release a Cliffs Notes edition to this blog?). We are excited to have the opportunity to play another day and match-up with a new team, the Utah Utes. Ultimately, all of us are competitors, and we would rather be playing a game in Siberia than relaxing on a beach in Cancun for spring break. Our team will do its best to enjoy this week off from school, playing and practicing in Champaign, trying to advance in our bracket, and working for the 2008 NCAA tournament. The journey starts now. How does spring break basketball in Tampa next year sound?