Final Four Madness!

It’s been a massive weekend in Atlanta – the Final Four came to town! Now my American friends will know exactly what I’m talking about but this might take some explaining to my English/German/and other nationality buddies so here goes…

So this is all about the NCAA or as it’s more affectionately known College Basketball. Yep not the NBA or a league below it or something, this is college (or university as we like to call it in the UK) students who have battled it out with the hundreds of other colleges across the country to make it into the Final Four teams.

Now back in the UK when I was at university in Cardiff I went to a Swansea University v Cardiff University rugby match. We left Cardiff on a bus to Swansea and started drinking before the bus had even left the city. The stadium wasn’t even full (and nowhere near the size of the stadium here!) and to be honest the drinking sort of took over the watching of the actual game! (I think it was my most drunk experience during my three years at university!) What I’m getting at here is that in the UK university sport is only watched by the students at university at that time who are more interested in the drinking aspect than the actual sport.

Over here though it’s a different matter altogether and it’s one that is unbelievable to a little Brit like me! So like the title suggests there’s 4 college basketball teams battling for the winners crown – this year it’s Michigan, Louisville, Syracuse and Wichita State. This means thousands, and I mean thousands, of basketball fans have descended on the city to see which college is victorious.

Now this doesn’t just mean a few basketball games watched by a handful of people – nope – these games took place here…

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The Georgia Dome which has a capacity of more than 71 thousand! Yep 71 thousand college basketball fans packed into that stadium for each match!! That is something UK universities can only dream of!! It also meant vendors lined the streets of Downtown Atlanta selling t-shirts, caps and other merchandise for each of the college teams with fans lining the streets in their respective colours, donning face paint and fake tattoos of their College mascot – I couldn’t quite get my head around the sheer size of the event for a sport that’s played between college teams! The only thing I can compare it to is a cup final back in England down at Wembley – something that happens once a year between some of the UK’s top teams! It was just amazing!!

So as well as the three basketball games – one of which is still to be played tonight and in case you’re wondering the final will see Michigan take on Louisville – this made me kind of sad – I was rooting for Wichita State just because I liked the name!! There was loads of other events all taking place across the weekend – including 3 massive concerts in the Centennial Olympic Park – one of which we headed down to.

On Saturday the sun was a shining (as it does most days here in Atlanta – in fact I’m currently writing this whilst sitting on my balcony in my shorts and a vest – and this is only spring!! Sorry British friends!!) so along with my bro and sister-in-law we (myself and the German of course!) headed down to the park. It was packed but everyone was happy and there was a fab atmosphere! So throughout the day there were different acts taking to the stage including Ludacris, Flo Rida and headliners Muse!! Yep our fellow countrymen were coming to town and we were going to see them…and wait for it…it was all for FREE! Yep free entry for a free gig that was only in town because of college basketball!! Once again this sport amazed me – I’ll say it again it would never happen for university sport in the UK! (I know I’m sounding like a broken record!)

So we got there just before Ludacris was about to take to the stage and it took us AGES to get a beer…bad times. Yep that was the first thing we did once we entered the park – priorities and all that! It would appear Ludacris was the most popular act of the day though and the crowd calmed down and broke up once he’d left the stage! Next up was Flo Rida followed by a break in proceedings for the basketball game – that didn’t bother us though – we had beer and of course there were snacks (when does a blog post not feature food?!) we tried corn dogs and funnel cake (which resulted in me getting sugar all over my trousers!!) and soaked up the sun before the big act…

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Now before Muse came on we shimmied on down closer to the front of the stage – we wanted a good view!! Myself and the German have seen them before at Leeds Festival but it was my brother’s first time and he was one excited man…

Yep an idiot who'd had a few beers by this point...

Yep an idiot who’d had a few beers by this point…

The fellow countrymen took to the stage and they did not disappoint!! We had an amazing time and once again I’ll tell you it was all for free because of college basketball!! Have you realised yet that I can’t believe all this is because of college basketball – not the National Basketball League but students at college! Unbelievable! Oh here’s a pic of Muse in full swing…

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And the gigs didn’t end there – yesterday Sting took to the stage – yep Sting!! Again it was all for free! We didn’t go though because we had a date at Turner Field – I’ll tell you about that one later!

So all in all it was a fab day and something I’m glad we took part in! This Final Four event won’t come back to Atlanta for a fair few years so we were lucky to be a part of it! And the size and scale of it for college basketball just blew me away! Amazing!!

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3 thoughts on “Final Four Madness!

  1. Pingback: Take me to the ball game… | Me, Myself and Atlanta!

  2. Pingback: I’m back…and so is football! | Me, Myself and Atlanta!

  3. Pingback: Happy One year in Atlanta! | Me, Myself and Atlanta!

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