Column: Mourning a missing March Madness? Focus on the memories

Maryland players celebrate their 78-75 overtime NCAA women’s championship victory over Duke Tuesday, April 4, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Forgive me. It’s taken a while to get my bearings. Usually I’m exhausted by Tuesday, but this year, it’s different.

Usually I’m somewhere on Selection Sunday at six, whether it’s Maryland, Georgetown, George Mason or American. After learning what seed the team earns, as well as their opponent and first weekend destination, I get to interview the coach and multiple players.

After picking up multiple McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes (not all for myself — three are for WTOP co-workers), I have headed back to the studio to edit audio and write for the WTOP website while appearing on-air with one of the anchors regarding the local teams’ next opponents, plus the tournament field as a whole.

On Monday, after minimal sleep, it would have been a full day of updates at :15 and :45 (plus an extended segment with the anchors) before heading out to Maryland to learn where the women are headed. (Usually a short commute to the XFINITY Center, thanks to a top-four seed.)

The women’s tournament prompts more seeds and more brackets. Followed by more interviews and previews for And more madness. This year, the madness is mournful after a silent Selection Sunday. And even with the silence, I can’t sleep.

This year’s tournaments have been torn from us. And while it’s the right thing to do to stem the spread of virus that causes COVID-19, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel a little empty these final weeks of March (and first weekend of April).

The men’s and women’s college basketball season is a fantastic journey filled with twists and turns, and March represents a fantastic final chapter. Losing the tournament is akin to getting to the last page of a mystery novel and finding out someone tore out the last page. (You mean I won’t know who killed Ratchett on the Orient Express?!)

So over the next few weeks, instead of looking at the games that won’t be played, I’m going to look back (as well as within) at the March memories that made me so mad in the first place.

Like the real big dance, there will be upsets, a little chalk, and even though there might be just one shining moment, there will be plenty of memorable ones.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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