Meet Alan Jay Zaremba
I began traveling to Las Vegas for March Madness in 2001 after hearing about an article that listed 100 things to do before you die. One of the recommended activities was to visit Las Vegas during the first weekend of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Then I read a short piece in Sports Illustrated magazine which made the same point. I went. It was, as advertised, a unique experience; entertaining and in its own way fascinating. I skipped the 2002 tournament, but since 2003 have been visiting Las Vegas annually in March. During my third trip, it crossed my mind that the quirky characters I met these weekends represented a distinct and intriguing subculture worth studying. Consequently, in the course of enjoying the experience of March Madness as a participant, I became an observer, researcher, and note taker.
I have been a sports enthusiast since childhood. I played some college basketball on a University of Albany freshmen team and coached youngsters for a while in recreational leagues and at a summer camp. I may know more about the game than the average person. As it relates to betting, however, I am no more of an expert than the common fan.
I contacted Rob Taylor at the University of Nebraska Press with my idea for a book that would describe this subculture of sports enthusiasts. Rob was interested. We contracted for the book and I began writing The Madness of March: Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas.