Of all of the events I have covered in a very fortunate career as a sportswriter, this is my favorite ” the SEC Tournament.
I know, you’re thinking I’ve lost my mind. This isn’t even the biggest tournament in March. And haven’t you covered the Super Bow, The Masters, bowl games, the World series, Dooley?
Sorry, but this is my favorite.
Maybe it just shows my provinciality, but I’m a big SEC guy. And this tournament is kind of a family reunion for the league.
The football title game is different because there are only two teams here.payday loans Baseball, not everyone qualifies and not everyone covers it.
That’s what makes this great. This is the SEC. each team has a handful of writers and broadcasters covering it so it’s a get-together for us. We might see each other only on occasion, but this is four days of bonding.
Plus, you have representatives of all 12 teams at the tournament. You have 12 coaches, 12 groups of players. And the basketball is an all-day affair on Thursday and Friday.
This is the SEC family getting together once a year. And it’s a family that’s easy to enjoy.
There are other reasons why I like this tournament so much. When it was in Nashville last year, well, I love Nashville. Atlanta is a great town, even though half of the city seems to be under construction, including our hotel. I don’t know who is making more noise at the Marriott ” the guys with the jackhammers or the Re-Max people here on a convention.
And then there is Manuel’s. My annual visit to the place is always a highlight.
Manuel’s is the hangout for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff among others. It’s part sports bar, part political caucus. TVs are everywhere, the bar is smoky and the pictures on the wall reflect both great athletes and Georgia heroes.
There is a painting of Jimmy Carter on one wall. He has frequented the place many times for a beer and a burger.
There is also a running clock which lists the days, hours, minutes and seconds of the Bush presidency.
With all of this said, here are my five favorite events to cover:
1. SEC Tournament. I think I’ve made my point.
2. The Masters. I covered it for nine years and it made my knees buckle every time I got to Amen Corner.
3. Any bowl game in Arizona. Talk about a reward. No bowl comes close to the way the Fiesta Bowl people treat everybody. And the scenery is breathtaking.
4. Big game in The Swamp. Nothing matches the electricity and I’ve been all around the league.
5. NCAA basketball tournament. The only reason it’s this low is because I have to miss so many games because I’m working. Darn Gators.