March Monthly Mini-Read

March 1, 1872 – Founding of Yellowstone National Park

The very first national park of the United States, and still one of the very best. 

As stated on Wikipedia and the National Park Service, the land now known as Yellowstone National Park had been occupied by Native Americans for around 11,000 years. After many rumors of the greatness of its landscape, organized exploration of the area began in the late 1860s with the Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition. The Folsom group kept a detailed journal of their sights, motivating the next expedition in 1870, which collected specimens and noted sites of interest. 

These findings would later spark the curiosity of many others that advocated for the reservation of the land. One notable supporter was Ferdinand V. Hayden, who had twice explored the area, with the second visit providing enough evidence (in the form of photographs and paintings) of the area’s beauty to convince Congress to withdraw the idea of public auction. Hayden would even be quoted saying that with so much awareness of the land at the moment, if a bill wasn’t passed that would protect it, thousands of years of nature’s work would be worse than ruined by vandals. And on March 1st of 1872, then President Ulysses S. Grant signed The Act of Dedication, officially recognizing the land as Yellowstone National Park. 

The park would face several obstacles on the journey to the state of the present day, including the situation of native people that once occupied the area, poaching, and later, wildfires. So, despite the many challenges the park faces to this day, it is still a great example of the efforts made by humans to preserve nature in a healthy manner. 

March 2, 1962 – Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points

Statline: 36 of 63 FG (baskets), 28 of 32 FTs (free throws)

It was the Philadelphia Warriors versus the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Considering such a feat, the game was not anticipated to be anything special, as there were only five games remaining in the 1961-62 season. The Warriors were eleven games back from the top-seeded Celtics, and the Knicks ranked last. 

Chamberlain had been partying for the entirety of the previous night, and nearly missed the bus to Hershey after being too relaxed the next morning. The game was not all too important to him. By the end of the first quarter, the Warriors were up 42-26, and Chamberlain had unsurprisingly already scored 23 points, having made all of his free throws. By the end of the first half, he returned to the locker room with 41 points in the books. Chamberlain lacked excitement, as he was used to such scoring domination, and didn’t think much of it. However, his teammate, Guy Rodgers, clearly saw potential in the statline and remarked, “Let’s see how many [Wilt] can get.” Their coach, Frank McGuire, agreed. 

Confirmed by Wikipedia and the NBA, the game announcer began to keep count after every basket, and early in the 4th quarter, with 75 points, Chamberlain would have to play at a never-seen-before rate in order to make history. After his 79th point, the spectators began chanting “Give it to Wilt!” in hopes of witnessing a historic performance. It was becoming more about getting to the magic 100 instead of the actual game. The Knicks began desperately fouling Chamberlain, and because of this, McGuire replaced his starters with bench players just to foul them back. 

Rare footage of the game on YouTube shows that with 46 seconds remaining, the century mark was hit, and the game was never finished as fans ran to the court in celebration of this rare occasion. Still to this day, nobody has beaten this record, even with the introduction of three pointers in 1979. Most of Chamberlain’s points came from his free throws, and on this particular night, he only missed four, despite his poor shooting habits (interestingly, he shot his free throws underhanded). 

Additional Facts

March is home to three very important religious events, those being Holi (March 8th), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th), and Ramadan (evening of March 22nd to the end of April 20th). International Women’s Day is on the 8th and Pi day is celebrated on the 14th (which really should be on the 4th if we use the decimal properly, but that’s just me), honoring the mathematical constant, π. The less serious holidays include National Frozen Food Day, Donald Duck Day, Whole Grain Sampling Day, and World Sleep Day (which should be everyday). Oh, and don’t forget International Bagpipe Day.