Dear Hoops Fan,
I love sports hype. And if you are riding the web looking for information about college basketball, you probably love the hype too. Your browser beats a well-worn path to the usual suspects, where the game we follow is packaged by corporate partners that want us to live in a televised fantasy. I'm not afraid to admit I consume plenty of my hoops that way.
I come here to The Mid-Majority (TMM), however, for something different. This site contains the written accounts of average fans getting up from their chairs, going out into the darkness of winter afternoons and evenings, and finding the places where college basketball is on the live wire.
But not just any college basketball. TMM is fanatic about Division 1 college basketball played below the "red line" of the collegiate superpowers. Above that line you find the eight conferences that play for big money: schools that yearn for football bowl games, that traffic in constant conference realignment (how many teams are in the Big 10?), and who seem to risk NCAA scandal with every recruiting class. Below that line you find the majority of Division 1 men's basketball in 25 conferences: small and mid-sized schools with extraordinarily skilled players, little t.v. exposure, colorful coaches (Rick Pitino has nothing on Jimmy Patsos), and eclectic gyms that are sometimes rabid and sometimes empty. And fabulous competition. When we get up from our chairs and go out into the darkness, this is where we go.
We contributors to TMM write essays about what we witness at those games. Yes, essays. Unlike the running account of a blog, essays have endpoints. The end of a game, sure, but also the end of a series of experiences on a particular day in a particular gym. Unlike articles, essays use the who, what, where, and when as a vehicle -- the team bus you might say -- to carry us to new insight. TMM essays often aim for the personal, the philosophical, the editorial.
But back to the hype. We all know the most exciting and legitimately hyperbolic moments of the college basketball season happen when the underdogs take on the big programs in March. TMM tells of these teams' (George Mason, VCU, Butler, Lehigh) forays above the red line like no other site. The annals of TMM trace how these teams grew, how their resolve and passion developed during the long, anonymous weeks of conference play when the rest of the sports-babble establishment hyperventilated elsewhere. The annals also trace the many more stories of teams that just missed. You won't like everything you read here. But you will come to know the talents and obsessions of this loose, nationwide guild of writers -- a possessive, freakish, darkly funny, and perhaps fatalistic group. We look for meaning in the overlooked. We explore the metaphor of competition and participation. And we witness the game in order to make it our game. Enjoy.