March 27, 2006
To the astonishment of everyone, the George Mason University Patriots pulled one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history yesterday, beating top-ranked Connecticut and earning a birth to the Final Four round in Indianapolis next weekend. This will really put GMU on the map in terms of public awareness, boosting applications for admission. Unbeknownst to most people, George Mason is home to one of the best economics departments in the country, thanks in large part to Dr. James Buchanan, who won the the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics for originating "public choice" theory. Another high-profile institution affiliated with GMU is the Institute for Humane Studies, a libertarian think tank now headquartered at the GMU School of Law in Arlington.
I've driven past the main campus of GMU in Fairfax, Virginia hundreds of times over the years, but I think the only time I went inside was when I escorted some nieces [actually, young girls who later became my nieces by marriage] to a Milli Vanilli concert at the Patriot Center in 1989. The (purported) vocalists seemed very uncomfortable on stage, straining hard at the microphone. One year later I found out why.
Not to beat a dead horse (OK, I'm beating a dead horse), but isn't the remarkable victory by George Mason yet another example of how passion, dogged determination, and group effort count for more than individual excellence when it's Crunch Time? I refer, of course, to the recent blogospheric controversy over Kirby Puckett and whether he really deserved to be in the Hall of Fame.
Better luck next year for Phil Faranda's alma mater, Villanova. The Wildcats would have faced the Patriots in the semifinals. That makes me wonder, What will become of the RCA Dome after this year? That, in turn, reminds me that some have asked whether I intend to make basketball or hockey version diagrams of MLB stadiums. If so, I'd have to do so for the Metrodome, the Kingdome, and Tropicana Field, at least. "Just wait till next year!"