NEW YORK CITY - As a native Hoosier, March Madness is an experience that just doesn't feel the same out here.
Sure, the excitement exists. I write bar-side from a midtown-Manhattan hotel, sipping my $7.50 beer and utilizing my $14.95 Internet connection. Above me hang two plasma television screens, while the left side of my laptopn's LCD is filled not by instant messages (those are on the right), but by "March Madness On Demand."
Behold, Internet video at its finest.
For the third year in a row, an annual convention I attend is running concurrently with the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball tourney. To stay up on all the games, I'm using the NCAA's free service that streams CBS' coverage. Sure, it's subject to blackout restrictions, but it's come in handy when the game I want to see isn't front-and-center on television, or when I'm not around a television at all.
My brackets? Facebooked. Some friends have clicked on ESPN's bracket service for the ability to have multiple brackets under one name - but they're a little more die-hard than I am. When I can't make it to the computer, Facebook Mobile alerts are enabled on my account so I receive a text message with the game's outcome, whether I guessed it correctly and how well my bracket is ranking against others' guesses.
Really, the madness of March seems to follow me out here, even. So what ever could be leaving that void in my soft, little Hoosier heart?
Oh yeah - my teams.