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The Sports of Spring: Traditions Like No Other

Updated: May 8

By: Guest Writer Diane Obusek


Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. This week, we have a special piece from our first ever guest writer. While Patti Bax, host of the Buffalo Huddle, is off preparing for her annual ride for the Roswell Comprehensive Cancer Center Bowling Fundraiser (go Patti go!), we have her sister joining IESR. She is an editor, TBH NFL Scout, and frequent online contributor to The Buffalo Huddle. Take it away, Diane!


This is the perfect time of year for any sports fan. Hopefully, we’ve recovered from Super Bowl insanity, especially if you’re a Buffalo Bills fan who only watched the halftime show or better yet, tuned in for Team Fluff versus Team Ruff in The Puppy Bowl. Opening Day for the MLB, March Madness, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the Masters, the NFL Draft, and the Kentucky Derby, a feast for fans of any sport. Let’s take a look at traditions associated with several of them.


The term “March Madness” was coined by Henry Porter, an Illinois high school administrator, who used the phrase in a 1939 basketball article, also the Tournament’s first year. If you thought Brent Musberger was responsible, you’re partially correct. The CBS broadcaster first used the term during coverage of the 1982 tournament, won by Dean Smith’s North Carolina Tar Heels.


No tournament would be complete without the emotional “One Shining Moment,” written by David Barrett, first played in 1987. Although originally a tribute to basketball, the song was to air after Super Bowl XXI. When the game ran long, CBS Producer Doug Towey decided to play Barrett’s work after that year’s NCCA tournament. Do you tear up like me when the late Luther Vandross’ incredible voice brings all the tournament’s shining moments to light?


The Masters is the golf tournament noted for being “a tradition like no other.” The winner of the Masters dons the green jacket awarded to him by the previous year’s winner. He has to return the jacket before the next year’s tournament. A favorite food served at Augusta National Golf Course is the pimiento cheese sandwich, wrapped in green plastic and sold for $1.50 (sorry, not a “patron,” the name given to Masters fans). A tradition I can get behind is the cell phone free- environment. The use of cell phones and all electronics is strictly prohibited. AT&T provides free landlines so patrons can call family and friends from the course. Patti was not pleased when I told her this. “You mean I can’t take pictures?”


The 150th Kentucky Derby will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. Only three-year-old Thoroughbreds, mostly colts, are eligible to run the 1 1/4 miles on a dirt surface. The fillies, female Thoroughbreds, run the Friday before the Derby in The Kentucky Oaks. There are three fillies who have won the Kentucky Derby, Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980), and Winning Colors (1988). All horses carry 126 pounds, except fillies, who get a five-pound weight allowance at 121 pounds.


The Derby traditions include “My Old Kentucky Home,” a historically complicated song updated to remove lyrics with racial stereotypes. In 2020, the song was played by a single bugler to an empty grandstand, when no fans were admitted due to COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re watching the race this year, look for a horse much different than the Thoroughbreds in the post parade. He is Harley, a registered American Sugarbush Draft horse with the spotted coloring of his sire, an Appaloosa, and the size of his dam (mother), a Belgian/Percheron mix. Harley is a lead pony who keeps the horses relaxed while taking them to the starting gate. You won’t forget him!


Yes, the Kentucky Derby is the place to see and be seen. Gentlemen in expensive suits and ladies in lovely dresses with elegant fascinators or sometimes outrageous hats, sip mint juleps, the official Derby beverage. In 2023, Josh Allen attended the race with Eric Wood, who played college football for the University of Louisville. Be on the lookout for other sports stars and celebrities in the crowd.


I’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby, but I did go to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup. The sport is going through some much-needed soul searching of late. I love Thoroughbred Racing, but I will always place the horse above the sport. The most exciting two minutes in sports deserves to be a showcase where fans can watch and admire the beauty and heart that is the Thoroughbred racehorse.


Finally, April brings the much-awaited NFL Draft, this year held in resurgent Detroit, Michigan. I propose a new tradition for the Buffalo Bills draft in 2025. No, not another endless stream of mock drafts, or even a mock cocktail! Why don’t the Bills select several Bills Mafia members to announce their draft picks? “For the first pick in the Bills Mafia Draft, Josh Allen selects Patti Bax, Super Fan, IE Sports”! Mr. Irrelevant is the name given to the final pick in the NFL Draft. This year’s winner is Jaylen Key, Safety, Alabama. The final draft pick was No. 257, selected by the New York Jets. Will he be another Brock Purdy? Good luck in the NFL, Jaylen!


I hope you had fun and learned something along the way. Leave a comment to share some of your own sports traditions. They don’t have to be Spring either! Tune in to all of the awesome shows here in IESR, as well as the live calls by our partner station USRN. Shout out to sponsors, Planet Jerky and Seal the Deal Wax Stamps, as well as all you loyal readers/listeners that continue to help out network grow. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.



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