Past ideas sometimes still ring true

Published 5:07 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“March Madness is drawing closer by the minute. Soon we’ll have dozens of college basketball teams crowding the courts to determine who is the ‘best’ team in the nation by the end of it all. The familiar squeak of shoes on the hardwood, the buzzer signaling time has run out, and the cheers of the winners are just some of the endearing things basketball fans look forward to.”

I stuck that opening paragraph in quotation marks because it’s actually the opening to a column I wrote back in March 2019 as I was waiting for the NCAA tournament to start. Of course, by the time you read this particular column, this year’s tournament will already be underway. But the sentiments are still the same every year.

That particular column in 2019 was just some musings from me about why so many people find sports entertaining to watch. Unlike much of what’s on television these days, sports are unscripted and unpredictable, so we never quite know what’s going to happen when we tune in.

“Maybe that’s why we enjoy sports so much,” I wrote. “Because every game we watch might be the next great moment in sports history. We never know what will happen as the clock starts running or the ball begins moving or the player springs into action.”

Even a few years later, I still think that’s true, by the way. We don’t call this event “March Madness” for no reason, after all.

Stumbling across that old column, however, got me feeling a bit nostalgic. So I went back to look at what else I’ve written about in March columns of the past.

In March 2022, I wrote about how colleges seem to keep giving “second chances” to coaches that have already proven they shouldn’t be in a position of power over students. For example, Art Briles, former Baylor University football coach, lost his job because he kept sweeping issues under the rug instead of holding his players accountable for the assaults they were committing. He may have been great at teaching football plays, but he was clearly not responsible enough to be a leader. And yet, people keep trying to hire him again.

“I’m all for giving people who have messed up and made bad decisions a second chance to get on with their lives. It’s true that sometimes people can and do change for the better. But those ‘second chances’ do not have to happen in the same position where those prior mistakes were made,” I wrote last year.

I still stand by those words. If you look at coaching hires, you’ll still see a tendency to bring back disgraced coaches who shouldn’t be coaching anymore. Maybe one day that will change.

In March 2021, the world was captivated by the absurdity of a container ship stuck in the Suez Canal. Yes, even I kept tabs on the story to see how long it would take to get the ship free.

I wrote a column that month reminiscing about how I used to watch container ships make their way towards the Port of Wilmington during summers at the Fort Caswell camp on Oak Island.

“The sheer size was almost unbelievable to me back then when I was a teenager. Any other boat passing by at the same time looked merely like tiny toys floating in a bathtub. Stacked on the deck of each ship were hundreds of containers in an array of colors, carrying presumably an array of different commodities inside each one,” I wrote.

Those ships travel all around the world each day, bringing important cargo where it needs to go. That one stuck ship which blocked travel for several days was a reminder of how connected our world is, and how one little thing can have widespread repercussions.

March 2020, of course, was perhaps the weirdest month of everyone’s lives. I definitely wrote a column or two about the pandemic in its early days, as we all struggled to understand just how big an impact it was going to have in the coming weeks, months, and years.

But just before COVID-19 happened, I wrote a column about something that’s been a consistent ongoing problem for years: reckless driving. In particular, we’d been having a lot of foggy mornings at the time, and I kept witnessing people driving dangerously on my commute. Fog limits visibility, so you can’t see other cars around you or stop signs and stoplights as you approach. And yet, there are still people who don’t easily correct this by slowing down at intersections or using their headlights.

“If you can’t be safe on the roads, then you might as well just keep your driver’s license to use for ID purposes only. Save your reckless driving for video games,” I wrote at the end of that column.

I’ve said that plenty of times since then, and I’m sure I’ll say it many more times in the future. I’ll repeat it as often as I have to in order to encourage safer driving.

In March 2019, I had some fun talking about March Madness again. More specifically, the way people like to entertain themselves with their own versions of different tournament brackets to decide their favorite movies or best foods.

In a fit of silliness, however, I took the “madness” one step further and wrote a whole column about which fast food restaurants would make up the starting lineup for a hypothetical basketball team! (If you were wondering, my picks were Cookout as the center, Sonic as the power forward, Hardees at small forward, Chick-fil-a as the shooting guard, and Bojangles as the point guard. Rereading this column made me scratch me head a few times but also made me hungry!)

Continuing backwards down memory lane, I was writing about language and reading and robots in March 2018, along with one column about college mascots.

And in March 2017, I wrote my first ever column for the newspaper. Accordingly, I chose “firsts” to be the focus of that column.

“We love to commemorate the firsts. Nobody really pays much attention to the second, third, or fourth time something happens. But the beginning of something new is special,” I wrote.

Looking back on all these columns, I’ve covered a wide range of different ideas. It’s interesting to see what’s changed and what hasn’t over the past few years.

I’m curious what topics will catch my attention in the future. There’s plenty more in the world to explore. But one thing’s certain: I’ll probably always have something to say about March Madness!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.