Used to be, the only time during the year when I would miss having TV was during the NCAA men's basketball tournament. However, thanks to my friend the internet, this is no longer a problem. I entertained the idea of hooking up the computer to the TV so that I could watch it on a marginally bigger screen, but apparently TVs made in the mid-90s just weren't built for that. A guy at work told me that a new TV would only put me back $300. I have to admit, that's not all that expensive for how nice televisions have gotten. But the one I have works perfectly well, has a remote, and only cost $15. It's probably got another five or ten years of good service left.
The point is, I've been watching basketball. The tournament this year has been thrilling. There have been upsets and buzzer-beaters and just good, tight games. Josh watches with me. I think he enjoys that his girlfriend gets so much enjoyment from sports. He also is amused to see how emotionally involved I get. He should see my mother.
The first year they put the tournament on the internet, you could only watch the first two rounds of play. At some point, they must have decided that this streaming thing was really going to take off, because now you can watch all the games for free. Every once in a while, I'll have connection problems, but overall, it's been a good experience. There are commercials, and they are special internet commercials, like the one where the Ruby Tuesday waitress tells you to get off the computer and come down to watch the game at her restaurant where you can get overpriced and greasy appetizers. Advertisers are paying for the right to show their commercial on the internet broadcast. I'm sure most of the ads are ones that are shown on regular TV.
Coke Zero is a big advertiser of the internet broadcasts, and they are kind enough to rotate four commercials. Since there are fewer advertisers, you tend to see the same commercials over and over. Although, come to think of it, that happens on regular TV, too. Two of the Coke Zero ads are about basketball, specifically wild and crazy fans. They show clips of college students acting insane while wearing ridiculous getups, and then they compare that madness to that of a soft drink with real Coke taste and zero calories.
The two schools they chose to feature were Duke and Kansas. After seeing the commercials only once, I thought they were just using the same shots, since both teams use dark blue. But the footage is different. The Duke kids are not doing anything particularly Duke-ish, but they are called the Cameron Crazies. And they do that thing where they make a lot of noise while someone is shooting a free throw, but everyone does that. As a matter of interest, the Cameron Crazies do still yell out "SEE YA!" whenever a person on the opposing team fouls out. I remember them doing that when I was a kid, and the tradition lives on. I guess they pass it down every year.
Despite my Tobacco Road loyalties, I actully like the Kansas commercial better. In fact, it led to one of my other favorite things about the internet, which is random knowledge. The narrator said something about a "Kansas rock jock jam" and how it was possibly not as much madness as real Coke taste without the calories. I didn't know what a rock jock jam was, so I looked it up. Another awesome thing about the internet is that you can search for "Kansas rock jock jam" and it will know that you really meant "Kansas rock chalk chant."
The Rock Chalk Chant is just that - a chant - that Kansas fans use at games. It has one line - Rock chalk, jayhawk, K-U. That line is said twice slow, then three times fast. The rock chalk refers to a kind of limestone that is found in that part of Kansas. The chant was written over 100 years ago. I have always liked Kansas, because I am like our President in that I am half-Kansan. When we visited Kansas for the last time a few years back, Josh and I decided that we needed to pick Kansas teams to root for, because we love a good rivalry. So I picked Kansas, and he picked K-State. We talk trash to each other about this rivalry, even though we really don't care anything about it at all. I never really considered that any other state could have the kind of rich basketball history that I associate with the schools right here in North Carolina. Part of that is the recency illusion - most of the success around these parts has really happened in the last 30 years. But that's my whole life, so as far as I'm concerned, we've always been awesome.
However, reading about the Rock Chalk Chant has led me to believe that Kansas has an illustrious college basketball heritage. Also, their program was started by James Naismith, the original Dr. J. As far as basketball credentials go, that's pretty good. Turns out, he's been the only basketball coach in the history of the school who finished with an overall losing record.
In any case, I am now even more of a Kansas fan. I walk around the house, saying the Rock Chalk chant. It's way better than a drink with real Coke taste and no calories.