Workplace Veterans

Posted On March 29, 2024

On this week’s Keepin It Real, Cam Marston has some observations about the NCAA tournament. The old guys are winning, and he likes that.


Someone in my family is not pleased right now. As I write this Wednesday, I don’t know who. Last night the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. My wife is a Carolina grad. I was unaware people could like basketball that much until I met her. My son is a Freshman at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He was an avid sports fan moments after his birth. One of them lost last night and is not pleased. They’ll be picking at each other today until the loser says “Ok. That’s enough.”

My wife has commented all year about how this year’s basketball season is different. There were many more seniors playing than ever before. North Carolina’s standout forward, Armando Bacot, is twenty-four years old. It’s not only my wife that’s noticed it. Yesterday, while I was walking on the treadmill, my buddy Jimbo mentions how all the successful teams are all older. Then this morning, the daily newsletter I enjoy so much called Morning Brew mentions the same thing, going on to state that nearly 300 tournament players are in the fourth, fifth, or sixth years playing basketball. Covid rules allowed them to extend their eligibility and NIL money is keeping them playing in the college ranks whereas in the past they may have bolted for the big money of professional basketball.

This is in great contrast to the years of when the top basketball teams were loaded with “one and done” players. The top players would play one year in college then go on to bigger money. The teams loaded with one and done players this year have not fared as well. The University of Kentucky’s basketball roster has eight freshmen on it. Kentucky has been a perennial basketball powerhouse and a perennial one and done program, and they likely watched last night’s games at home on their couch just like I did after they lost in the first round.

Experience is proving to matter this year. Many of the teams that may have never have ever had a chance to make the NCAA tournament were present this year, fueled by upper-classmen. Many of them have already lost, but they were there. And many for the first time. And on some teams, fans are able to watch their players mature. Some players are staying on the same team throughout their college career. While it is true the transfer portals have spoiled much of this, there are places where the seniors have been at the same school the whole time. They’re rare, but they’re out there. And their fans adore them. They’ll cheer any player wearing their alma mater’s jersey, but they’ll adore the ones who have worn it four years or more.

So why does this make me feel kinda good? That the old kids are proving to be the winners? That the veterans are the difference makers? I suppose because it shows that wisdom and time and experience matter. And, as I get older, that keeps getting more and more important to me. And even though these veteran players are more than thirty years younger than me, I feel a kinship with them.

I’m Cam Marston and, old as I am, I’m just trying to keep it real.

Check out this episode!

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