March Madness Is Not a Department Store Sale


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Story By: Stefanie Verdugo-Tholen, Reporter

Raise your hand if you know who “Big Country” is.

Big Country, also known as, Bryant Reeves, was a professional basketball player who played for the Vancouver Grizzlies from 1995 until 2001. He got his nickname, “Big Country,” when he played college ball for Oklahoma State from 1991 until 1995.

Not many people know who he is. I do, because I am a huge college basketball fan, but what may surprise you, is — I am a woman. Big Country was one of my favorite college basketball players in the 90s.

I have always been interested in sports. Although I was considered “one of the guys,” growing up, it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

I grew up the youngest girl in my family, with my mom and dad, two older brothers and a male cousin. Our house was the neighborhood hangout for every teenage boy in a five mile radius. I guess that is where my love of sports originated. Football, baseball and golf were the main sports that engulfed our home, but in high school, I started following college basketball.

For some reason, basketball became my favorite sport to watch. Maybe it’s because I am 4’11 and truly admired how some of those guys look like they are actually flying. The fact that I could have a conversation about UCLA’s shooting guard, Toby Bailey, or the O’Bannon brothers, made me little miss popularity amongst my high school peers, especially the male ones

Even though the boys welcomed me into their little world, they still considered me a girl and laughed at me when I would dish out the stats of a game.

I even corrected them about how many turnovers there actually were or who was the top pick for a March Madness bracket. The older I got, the better my knowledge got, and sometimes that did not sit well with my friends.

Even my female friends made fun of me. They thought I was just pretending to be interested in sports so the boys would like me.

I never claimed to know everything about basketball. For me, it’s about the thrill of it all. I was never athletic growing up and never found my niche in high school with regards to sports, even though I was a huge fan of most sports.

I like to cheer on my favorite teams and my favorite players. I like bantering with fellow sports fanatics over a rivalry. It makes you feel like part of the team.

I enjoy March Madness much more as an adult now. I have been blessed to have a group of mature, confident women who also enjoy sports and do not care what people think. Every year we get together in Las Vegas to celebrate March Madness. It doesn’t matter to me anymore if people think I am pretending to like sports. I am too old to play games.