Written by Daniel Hazard
Now we know that Florida Gulf Coast is in the Sweet 16 but this article emphasizes how the team grants exposure for often overlooked schools and locales. The author's central point: "Follow the NCAA tournament, know your country. Feel its enormity."
Maps can function as incredibly egalitarian tools. Want to discover a new town, city, or province? Pull out a map. Want to take a new path from point "A" to point "B"? Pull out a map. Care to explore new nooks and crannies in a historic building? Take out that map. Dr. Seuss got it right, "Oh, the Places you will go"…but our "going" is limited to our capacity to see. There's hardly a dearth of destinations on this wondrous planet but there is a lack of awareness. We often miss the hidden gems in plain sight, even in our own neighborhoods.
Who knew that the headquarters of Smucker's is in Orrville, Ohio? How many people realized the Muhammad Ali museum is in Louisville, Kentucky? When it's raining, do we salute Baltimore, Maryland for building the first umbrella factory in America? Presumably random, fun facts; however, these are sources of pride to locals and natives.
That's the blessed beauty of March madness! For a few weeks, the teams that make the big dance re-orient the nation's gaze to schools and places that previously may've been unfamiliar. South Dakota State and Florida Gulf Coast get exposure just like UCLA and Duke. We thank you, Source of infinite knowledge, for "using the seemingly foolish things of the world to confound the wise." More people are gaining history and geography lessons through the excitement of sports. And for that we give you thanks and praise. Amen.