Last Friday I lnked to an item about the NFL’s latest trademarking shenanigans. That led to a communiqué from reader Kenny Keil, who checked in with the following:
I was recently informed about the origin of the term “March Madness” and was intrigued to find out that it was first used by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in the 1930s. When it was first used by the NCAA, Brent Musberger mentioned it and then the NCAA began licensing the term around 1973. The IHSA tried to sue but failed to enjoin the NCAA usage. Both organizations use it now, with the IHSA calling theirs “America’s Original March Madness.”
Maybe you all knew this already, but I didn’t (I’ve never been a huge college hoops fan). Anyway, it turns out that there’s a good uni-related payoff, because the IHSA’s web site includes photos of every state championship team dating back to 1908. Early highlights include Galesburg High in 1913, Bloomington in 1916 (dig the old English “B”), Centralia in 1918 (yet another use of the wishbone C — except for that kid in the front row), and Marion in 1921 (not sure what the “T” is for, but that is one fantastic logo!). And while I’ve never much liked basketball jerseys with nothing but a number on the front (seriously, how boring can you get?), but you’ve gotta like Taylorville’s 3-D block numerals from 1944.
Best photo of all: Check out the sweaters worn by Springfield in 1959. Damn — anyone know where I can get one of those?
Of course, as everyone began discovering yesterday, the real definition of March Madness is destined to be this.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Sandy Alomar Jr. is wearing uni No. 90 in Mets camp this spring, but a reader who prefers to remain nameless notes that he’s still wearing his old No. 26 knee savers (presumably a holdover from last year’s stint with the White Sox). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Brutal pants stylings on the NC State baseball team. Someone tell these kids that this is precisely the maneuver that got Pedro Martinez fined last year. … Also from yesterday: Big kudos to College of the Sequoias, who are wearing some seriously amazing unis this season. Restore your faith in humanity by checking out the photo galleries here, here, here, and here. … Blast from the past: the Colorado Caribou’s infamous fringed jerseys (with thanks to Matthew Algeo). … All Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball teams will wear a purple armband, in memory and support of the Bluffton University team, which was involved in that bus crash a few days ago. Details are in the sidebar box toward the bottom of this article (with thanks to Tom Konecny).