Haye Day of High School Madness

March Madness, selling the name of the game

Promoting March Madness 

In 1952 Hebron, a school with only 98 students attending won the High School championship. It was the first live telecast of a high school sporting event in Illinois. Several years later is in 1954 another school with a small enrollment also won the title; Indians Milan high school had 161 students, the smallest enrolment for any of Indiana's title winners. The movie Hoosiers was sort of based on that winning team. I say sort of because let's face it, Hollywood does make things look bigger, better and brighter than reality. I loved the movie and Gene Hackman was a great basketball coach, as was Nick Nolte in the movie Blue Chips, another great basketball movie.

Blues Chips staring Shakeel O'Neil was based on the premise of College alumni making deals with the parents of potential athletes. In Blue Chips, talented basketball players were lured to campus with a fulfilled promise that their parents would receive new farm equipment, beautiful cars or new homes for their families; I won't comment either way on that, but I can tell you it was a great movie and that's coming from someone who while working for *Paramount Pictures was a set operator on Blue Chips for two months. (*Shameless plug, I know).

Hoosiers did convey the heightened enthusiasm that the midwest had for high school basketball and gave millions of people a glimpse into the Golden Era of the sport. A game they could have made a movie about was the championship game between Chicago Carver and Centrali High when in 1963 Anthony Smedley who was a substitute player got a last minute shot right before the buzzer to give Chicago a victory.

In 1973 the IHSA began to officially and legally use "March Madness" to merchandise products and use the term in their programs. In 1989 a book was written and a video produced on the history of America's "Original March Madness." Now March Madness is shore to shore, border to border. The money America's "Original March Madness" makes goes to help those in need to get scholarships for college. March Madness is truly a phenomenon that no one would have dreamt could happen.

The Madness is unstoppable

March Madness went through two world wars, several smaller wars if the word smaller could ever be used to describe war.March Madness made it through earthquakes on the West Coast, Hurricanes on the East Coast and tornados in the center. Terrorist attacks could not stop it, protests won't hurt it and it crosses race, religion, language and economic classes. Like the energizer bunny, March Madness keeps going and going and going. These three articles are not exciting, I realize that. They didn't predict any winners or give any odds, but I hope it brought a smile to your face.
Hey, we all need to smile a little and what better way to smile than to think about Spring Fever.