There is no question that that this is a deeply divided nation, this America. The election last November showed a country split between Republicans and Democrats, retro and metro, blue states and red. And across those thin black battle lines flew the arrows of misunderstanding, hate and prejudice. Just over two months later, things aren't any better than they were during that contentious campaign.
But there's one thing that binds us all together as one nation - college basketball. In every corner of the land, you can find gymnasiums and teams and games and cheerleaders and bands. No matter what your belief structure, no matter whether you voted for Bush or Kerry, deep down we all have Hoop Love in common. The game that was born here in America has the power to transcend all of our ideological, geographical and racial barriers. We may look or talk differently, or disagree on abortion or Iraq or taxes, but there is no denying that we all rise together as one for a thundering slam dunk or a buzzer-beating three.
From February 14th through the 20th, The Mid-Majority will take to the road on an ambassadorial mission. Armed with nothing but a warm smile, an old Spalding game ball and a black Honda Civic, I will venture into those states that sport a crimson hue. Setting out from the sky-blue commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I will criss-cross the South on a quest to rebuild just a tiny portion of that bridge that divides us.
The message of the RSBGT is a positive one - that college basketball can bring us together as a nation and help make us strong again. In addition to watching exciting mid-major basketball games, I'll be listening and talking with the people, extending the olive branch of Hoop Love to all who I encounter. Maybe there'll even be a few friendly pickup games in public parks, who knows. And everything will be chronicled and blogged - post upon post transmitted from Starbucks coffeeshops and Kinko's stores and illicit warchalked hotspots all over God's Country.
I seek not to patronize, to amplify differences, nor to revel in some imagined superiority to an unfamiliar culture. No, I seek to celebrate our common ground, using the shared enjoyment of the Greatest Game as a context for shared understanding. Much like ESPN's Jay Bilas, I come in peace.
And here's where the audience participation element comes in. You, the faithful readers of The Mid-Majority, will decide which route I take. There are two potential paths - one through the mountains and valleys of the mid-south, the other reaching down into the heart of Bayou country. Both include five games from five different mid-major conferences, and both culminate in an exciting Bracket Buster matchup on the final day of the tour. And yes, all six games will count towards the 100 Games Project
Voting will remain open until February 1st (which also happens to be the date when the Bracket Buster matchups will be announced) on the left sidebar. Comments and ideas, as always, can be sent to the e-mail address at left. This promises to be a fun, exciting, thought-provoking, and possibly historic journey... and I am honored to have you play a part.
Because when it comes down to it, we're all on the same bracket.
© 2004-2014 The Mid-Majority. All content is the property of its authors.