As Sam Sees It

We are in the middle of the best event in college sports. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament began last week. As you read this column, the tournament field will have already been pared down from 65 teams to the “Sweet Sixteen.”

It should be safe to say that there have already been some exciting games played and a sprinkling of upsets have already occurred.

You will have seen teams play race horse basketball in the Loyola Maramount tradition and others that run a precision pattern offense of the type made popular by Princeton University.

Every team but one of the 65 that started tournament play last week will end its season with a loss. That does not mean that they are losers, though, not by a long shot. Just getting into this tournament is a major accomplishment.

Sports fans don’t get any better prolonged entertainment than this. Not many games are better than college basketball. Not many titles are harder to win or mean more than a NCAA Basketball Championship. Watching a group of college kids striving to win that trophy is indeed a pleasure. Watch and see what “giving it the old college try” really means.

My weekend at the Maricopa Community College District Invitational Softball Tournament was an eye-opening experience. There were 20 community colleges in attendance. Ten were from Arizona and the remaining 10 were from all parts of the United States.

Briarcliffe College from Long Island, N.Y. may have come the greatest distance. That team featured the same number of players from Canada (five) as it did from New York.

Other out of state teams included Neosho and Seminole State College from Oklahoma, Spokane and Seattle from Washington, Delta and Macomb from Michigan, Meramec from St. Louis, Missouri, William Penn University from Iowa, Centralia from Illinois and Midland from Texas.

There were some awfully talented players on display and many girls who were bigger, stronger and faster than one expects to see.

The weather was warm and even bordered on being hot. That should explain my surprise at having to spend several extra days in Phoenix because of a snow storm in Winslow and between where I was and where I wanted to be.

My granddaughter played a position she has played only very sparingly since Little League when she caught the team’s last game of the tournament. Her team, the Scottsdale Artichokes, won two games and lost three in tournament action.

Many of the teams from out of state stayed around for games with Phoenix area teams. Scottsdale entertained Meramec from St. Louis on Thursday.

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