Edson: March is a Sports Lover’s Dream

If you love sports – and if you’re reading this there is a good chance you do – then March is one of the best months of the year for you.

Where do we start? There are so many exciting things happening in different sports that we’ll begin with our timeline.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: That is, the boys and girls high school basketball version of March Madness starts this week. I’m not sure how many of our area teams will make it to the state finals, but I do know we are going to have some memorable games on the district and regional level.

One of the most interesting developments leading into the tournament was the return of Charlevoix All-Stater and University of Michigan commit Elise Stuck. She suffered a torn ACL and had surgery last summer. She returned to play last Friday night against Traverse City St. Francis as Charlevoix clinched the conference championship.

The irony is that Charlevoix had a great season without their star. So they built up confidence without her, kind of like learning to ride your bike without training wheels.  Now that Stuck is back, it will be interesting to see what kind of run they can make.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Michigan State and Michigan are both headed for the NCAA tournament. They have been streaky teams this season.

Selection Sunday is March 15 and before that is the Big Ten Tournament. There is no sure fire favorite to win the men’s NCAA tournament this year, with perennial favorites Duke and Kentucky not as dominant this year.

In my view, there is no clear cut favorite. That means someone like Virginia could step up and win again this year. Or maybe the Spartans or Wolverines will.

On the women’s side, I enjoy watching teams like South Carolina and Baylor. Connecticut, of course, is always in the running.

BASEBALL: Teams are in spring training now. The games don’t mean anything but the injuries do. And a team like the New York Yankees is already getting hit hard by injuries.

The Tigers? If they can win 70 games this year, Ron Gardenhire would deserve consideration for Manager of the Year.

So how do avid baseball fans get ready for the season? They play fantasy baseball and right now is a busy time for mock drafts. A date I’ve circled on my calendar is March 15. It’s going to be a huge sports day at our house. We’re holding our fantasy draft late in the morning and then switching on the TV early in the evening to watch the NCAA basketball selections.

FOOTBALL: Even though the NFL draft isn’t until April, there are countless stories coming out of the NFL about the draft and Tom Brady’s future.

The No. 1 topic in Michigan is who should the Detroit Lions draft? Personally, I’d like them to trade down a few spots and get an impact player plus an extra draft pick.

GOLF: The Masters isn’t until April, but I enjoy watching golf on the weekends during the winter months.

When I hear the TV announcers telling me that a player has “an impossible shot,” I always bark back at the TV: “Hey, I could at least give that a good go… and these guys are professionals.”

I just have a hard time with announcers making excuses for professional athletes, no matter what the sport.

So it’s time for the sports world to get back into full swing again. It’s why March is one of my favorite times of the year.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.