The English word “tournament” has been around for about 1,000 years. Descended from Old French, its first recorded use was in the 13th Century and most likely referred to jousting competitions. The French borrowed the term from Latin, tornus, which can be interpreted to mean turn around in some usage but, as a noun, more specifically was the word for a lathe.
Lot to think about there, or at least there was for me, as I, like a lot of Americans, let the first wave of March Madness crash down on my living room shores and carry me out to a basketball sea from which I will not return for a couple of days. It’s a great feeling. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a consistent feeling. The details change every year, but March never disappoints because March is full of tournaments and nothing beats the symmetry of condensed, precisely prescribed competition.
Anyway, the March 2022 issue of Hail Varsity, on its way to newsstands and mailboxes this week, celebrates this unique time in the American sporting calendar, and it’s more than just men’s basketball. The theme to this issue is more of the original Latin variety. Our cover features Nebraska wrestling Mikey Labriola, one of nine the Huskers sent to the NCAA Championships this week in Detroit. Nebraska battled Iowa to a close loss in a home dual, the event that provided our cover photo, then had to turn around and host the Big Ten Championships in Lincoln. That was a big deal, getting the greatest concentration of collegiate wrestling talent in the state, and we asked our staff photographers, John Peterson and Eric Francis, to take people inside the event via a photo essay.
There’s no tougher wrestling conference than the Big Ten, and Nebraska may have hoped to perform a little better than it did on its home turf, but there’s no time for that in March. Another tournament awaits. Turn around and try again.
OK, I’ll stop italicizing now. You get the point. But as I looked at our March issue, that notion came up again and again. What makes star freshman Bryce McGowens go out and battle night after night in the Big Ten, then turn around and show up at numerous high school and college games this winter as a fan? Jacob Padilla explains why in his March feature story. The day after Nebraska was bounced from the Big Ten Tournament, McGowens was back at the Nebraska state basketball tournament in Lincoln, watching hoops.
What makes Athletic Director Trev Alberts fly to Indianapolis with the women’s basketball team for its conference tournament, turn around and fly back to Lincoln to get to the wrestling tournament the next day? It doesn’t always require flights, but that has become standard operating procedure for Alberts, who seems to be everywhere, in person, when it comes to Nebraska athletics. He took time out of his perpetually full days––from the road, in Indinapolis, this time with the men’s team––to chat with deputy editor Erin Sorensen about his love for getting to games.
And, of course, the women’s team’s march to March is recounted in this issue, too.
Lot of tournaments, which is why this month stands out. Enough tournaments to make you, or at least me, stop and wonder where the word even came from. Now that I know, I may never look at March the same.
It’s possible I may have ordered a lathe while watching Richmond upset Iowa. It’s all coming together.
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Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.