Today, another Masters Tournament champion will be crowned at Augusta National Golf Club. The Florida Gators recently earned top honors at this year's NCAA Tournament.
As a Florida State fan, I was pulling hard for UCLA, but I must give the Gators their due: They dominated the game on both ends of the floor. What a great job by Florida coach Billy Donovan. His team lost its top three players from a year ago and seemed to be in a real building mode in the preseason.
However, someone forgot to tell all of his players. Guys such as Taurean Green, Corey Brewer, and tournament MVP Joakim Noah played like seasoned veterans as they guided the Gators to the title. Donovan's squad played hard, was excellent defensively and was totally unselfish on offense.
It really hurts me to say this, but they were really fun to watch. And once again the tournament provided us with upsets, monster performances and Cinderella stories, as it always seems to do. I'm telling you, it is absolutely the best sporting event on the planet.
Now to my choice for the second-best sporting event: I must go back to the Masters.
After Sept. 11, 2001, big corporations that were accustomed to blowing thousands of dollars each year wining and dining clients and employees in Augusta each April had a solid reason, or at least an excuse, not to spend the extra dough. Though the tournament was still huge, it was not quite the same as it was before the attacks at the World Trade Center.
That is now behind us. This year, the going rate for four badges was back up. Fans flocked to the area like they did in the late 1990s. I definitely saw an increase in patrons this year compared with the past couple of tournaments, and that is good news for everyone in town.
Nearly all of us benefit in some way from this wonderful event we are so fortunate to be close to. Whether you rented your house out last week for thousands, worked at the event or simply saved money in property taxes because of the Masters, we nearly all benefit.
And finally, baseball is back. Sure, it has its problems: a pea-brain used-car salesman serves as commissioner and its biggest star, because of steroid allegations (trying to be fair) is actually being urged (again, trying to use a kind word) by fans to quit so he doesn't shatter one of the best records in all of sports.
All of that aside, it is still baseball, and as good as the other sports are, baseball is still the national pastime. And the best place possible for a father to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday with his son.
So, for my money, I wish March and April could just be on a continuous loop the way Bill Murray was in the film Groundhog Day. It would certainly help with my predictions!
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