They Know My Name During March Madness

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

It had been a year since I walked through that door. But, every year, like clockwork, I walk through the door of a local establishment to watch March Madness. 

For the past 10 years, I’ve been enjoying the NCAA Men’s Tournament at The Swinging Doors in Spokane, WA. My good friend (Kristy) and I have been coming here to sit, chat and enjoy watching basketball. Both of us are big college hoops fans so it’s a natural fit for us to meet here every year. 

Kristy and I used to work together at a nationally known insurance company. We worked together for well over a decade and became friends. Nothing like best friends or anything like that. It’s the type of friendship that isn’t high maintenance. Reliable isn’t the right word. It’s just…friendship. 

Even though we don’t work in the same building any longer, we have this bond of sports. Without fail, we know that come March, we’ll see each other at The Swinging Doors. We catch up on life, family, work and sports. We compare brackets and…we watch basketball.

But, here’s the funny thing about all of this. Kristy is a (sort of) regular here. Me? Once a year is all I do. And yet, one of the waitresses always calls me by name. “Hi, Sunny” is what I was greeted with this past Thursday. I hadn’t even sat down at the table yet and she remembered me. It wouldn’t be Swinging Doors without her.

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

As routine as it is for Kristy and me to come to The Swinging Doors, it’s more so for a group I’ll call The Smith Group. We haven’t quite figured out what type of company it is yet, but Kristy and I figure their bill has to be in the four figures (at least) by day’s end. Best way to describe it is a small business of around 30-50 takes the day off and comes here for the day. Not all at the same time – some are regulars that stay throughout the hoops day while others come for awhile, eat, drink and leave.  

They eat. They drink. They play games. They talk and enjoy hoops. They are die-hard Gonzaga fans. Then again, most people are in this town. Especially during March. It’s all about the Zags. Even though the Eastern Washington Eagles made the men’s tournament this year, it is very much a Gonzaga town.

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We recognize each other every year. We give a look and a familiar nod. Even though I’m not a Zags fan, we know each other because of basketball. It all seems so familiar. Hanging out together on a March Madness day. It wouldn’t seem normal without them here.

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

Old, familiar faces come and go from our table each Thursday and Friday of March Madness. Some years I see more than others. They are folks I used to work with. Some I supervised. Some I was simply a peer.

Still, it’s good to see them. Sorting through that awkward familiarity, that finally realized recognition is reassuring. It’s a connection that is necessary, even if it’s only once a year.  I know their names. They know mine. It feels right. It wouldn’t be a March Madness without them. 

You wanna go where everybody knows your name

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CadChica Sports

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