Hoist A Mug to the Midshipmen!
The term March Madness is widely believed to have its origins in 1939. Writing about Illinois High School Basketball, Henry Porter asserted that a “little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”
Nearly a century later, “March Madness” is now synonymous with the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament that will dominate many a conversation and social media thread over the next few weeks. Each year, some 70 Million Tournament Brackets are filled out. By comparison, until 2020 no Presidential candidate had ever received 70 Million votes.
1979: Magic And Bird
While the tournament has had its followers since the 1930s, it took off to a new level in 1979 when Magic Johnson lead Michigan State to a victory over Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores. Six years later, we saw our first round of 64 and the bracket was born and it was about that time that CBS announcer Brent Musberger started using “March Madness” to describe the annual event.
1986: Our Favorite Year
Which bring us to 1986, arguably the most special year of all for many of us at Old Salt. Navy has made the NCAA Tournament 11 times. But it was in 1986 that our expectations and excitement was especially high. Led by future NBA Superstar David Robinson, we knew this team was something special.
“I’m not sure people appreciated how much Navy had accomplished,” said Washington Post Columnist John Feinstein, who covered that team. “The tournament wasn’t covered in those days the way it is now. The mid-majors who have made the Final Four this century all became national heroes. If a military academy team did that, or came close in today’s era, someone might build a statue to them.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Navy’s run in the 1986 Tournament was in the 2nd round. Not only did they upset #2 Seed Syracuse, but they accomplished the double-digit win on their opponent’s home court. Navy reached the Elite 8, ultimately succumbing to national runner-up, Duke (coached by Mike Krzykewski, an Army Alumnus). They may not have won the tournament, but there’s no doubt that they earned the right to be known as heroes and champions.
Old Salt: Fill Up Your Mug And Bracket
Old Salt would love to see Navy win the tournament every year. But we appreciate watching any well-played game between two teams that practice good sportsmanship.
So as you're filling out your bracket this year, take a moment to hoist a mug of Old Salt Coffee and toast all the worthy schools. We may be brewed by Navy Veterans, but we're meant to be enjoyed by fans of every team.