By Don Lindsey
In a little over a week, the NCAA basketball regular season will start. Going back to when I was a kid, I’ve always seen this time of the sporting year as one of my favorites. For starters, I played a lot of organized basketball and this was around the time that the season would begin. Through the week there would be practice and during the weekend we would have our game. The rest of my time when I wasn’t in school or outside with my friends was spent with a basketball or watching anything I could on TV about it.
My love for the college game came from hanging out where my mother worked at the University of Dayton. On some days my father would pick me up from school and drop me off at my mother’s work. I would walk around campus and sometimes would see some of the players. For me, these players were celebrities due to the fact that I would see them on TV or when we went to the games. Speaking of going to the games, those were some of the most fun experiences of my childhood. My mom, having worked at the university for quite some time, had the seniority to get decent seats when it came to basketball tickets for the faculty and staff. We would arrive at the arena, grab a bite and a drink from the concession stand and then take our seats. The place was almost always packed with a ruckus crowd that creates an energy that can’t be explained.
When the Flyers are winning, you can’t hear yourself think and when they’re behind, the whole building is cheering for them to get back into the game. A few minutes before half-time, we would head down to the restrooms and concession stand again. I would then take some time after the second half started to roam the arena, stopping at different points to watch the game. The electricity of the crowd noise would radiate through the entire place and at the end of the game, win or lose, I was always tired and hoarse from yelling and cheering.
While Dayton is not considered a powerhouse in college basketball, there have been some very good teams that have come out of the program including three elite eight appearances, and a runner-up finish in 1967. While I wasn’t around for the latter, I did get to witness a 1984 team that did very well in the NCAA tournament before losing to Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. Dayton had another team make the final eight in 2014 and while it was hard keeping up with the regular season games living down here, watching the tournament games and seeing how far the team got was a thrill. Watching those games took me back to my childhood watching the team and cheering with all I had for them.
Just thinking about those experiences brings a smile to my face and with pre-season games underway, I find myself excited about the madness about to start. For me, that’s not just something that happens in March. It’s a madness that starts in November.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.