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Nick’s Picks | March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day Let's Have Another Parade

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Above image credit: "Kansas City Week in Review" host Nick Haines. (John McGrath | Flatland)
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If losing an hour of sleep over the weekend has left you feeling like a zombie today, don’t despair. There’s a lot to look forward to this week. 

And it’s not just because it’s Pi Day on Tuesday or that Ted Lasso’s third and final season premieres on Wednesday. 

Here are some other big happenings to watch, do and know about in Kansas City this week: 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

Strike up the band, it’s time for a parade. 

Weeks after a Super Bowl celebration shut down Kansas City, get ready for the second biggest street party of the year. 

It’s the 49th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Here’s what you need to know: 

The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Friday. 

If you want to snag a spot along the route, it starts at the intersection of Linwood Boulevard and Broadway in Midtown and then continues along Broadway to 43rd Street in Westport.  

If you’ve never been to the annual parade, expect to see lots of leprechauns, bagpipers, marching bands and elaborate floats. And with municipal elections just weeks away, you know a good third of the parade will feature local politicians in top-down convertibles.  

While Kansas City will get most of the media attention, Lawrence and Leavenworth are also hosting St. Paddy’s Day parades on Friday.  

And here’s a special shout-out to Blue Springs, which is hosting what it’s calling “The World’s Shortest and Smallest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.” It starts at 9 a.m. Friday through downtown Blue Springs. 

Don’t be late, you might miss it! 

a man in a shamrock hat
Just embrace the green. Embrace it, we say. (Gregory Bull | AP File)

March Madness 

It’s officially March Madness. 

The first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship begins on Thursday. 

That means everyone has a “perfect bracket,” at least for the next 72 hours.  

Three local teams have qualified for this year’s tournament. 

On Thursday, the University of Missouri flies to California to take on Utah State.  

The University of Kansas has a short trip to Des Moines to play Howard University. 

On Friday, Kansas State University is in action in Greensboro, North Carolina, as the Wildcats take the court against Montana State. 

Here’s when and how to watch: 

  • Missouri vs. Utah St. on Thursday at 12:20 p.m. | TNT. 
  • KU vs. Howard on Thursday at 12:50 p.m. | TBS.
  • K-State vs. Montana St on Friday at 8:30 p.m. | CBS. 

This may come as no surprise to you. But according to several business surveys, this is also the week when workplace productivity nose dives around the country. A study from WalletHub found 37% of Americans are willing to call in sick or skip work to watch March Madness.  

It’s going to be a big distraction for several weeks. The tournament continues through April 3 with the championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.  

The biggest event in college hoops winds through Kansas City later this month. T-Mobile Center will play host to Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games on March 24 and 26. But the way the bracket is configured, no local teams would play in Kansas City. 

Also skipping Kansas City this year is the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship tournament. Women’s March Madness starts this week but none of our local teams made the cut. 

Kansas Jayhawks basketball
The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team playing at the T-Mobile Center. (Erica Hunzinger | Kansas News Service)

Transgender Politics 

This week, Kansas could become the latest state in the nation to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports. 

The measure currently sits on Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk. 

The big question of the week: Will Kelly use her pen to sign it into law or veto it as she has previous versions of the bill? 

One major difference this time around is that Kansas lawmakers passed the transgender sports ban with enough support in both chambers to override a Kelly veto.  

If it becomes law, the measure would not go into effect until July 1. It’s also certain to be the subject of multiple legal challenges.  

The courts have already blocked similar bans from going into effect in Idaho, West Virginia, Indiana, Utah and Montana.  

So far, 18 states have enacted some form of restrictions on trans athletes. The Kansas measure would impose the ban for all K-12, college and club sports. 

Spring Break in Jefferson City 

Today is the start of spring break for many of our area schools and universities.  

Guess who else is taking the week off? 

Our Missouri lawmakers.  

Even Gov. Mike Parson has left the country. He’s on a week-long “trade mission” to Germany and Sweden.  

It means no progress will be made this week on resolving a new political clash over guns. 

Before adjourning last week, state lawmakers advanced a bill that would remove the sales tax on all gun purchases. It means Missouri would be the only state in the nation that taxes food but not firearms.  

The move came just days after a federal judge blocked a contentious Missouri gun measure that barred local police departments from enforcing federal gun laws. The state is appealing the ruling.  

Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City next Monday. 

Funeral for Mike Burke 

Funeral services are this week for former Kansas City councilman and mayoral candidate Mike Burke

The longtime development attorney and civic leader died last week at the age of 73. 

Burke came in second to Sly James in the 2011 race for Kansas City Mayor.  

A visitation is planned for this Wednesday at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 2552 Gillham Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

There will be a funeral at the church on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.  

KC Current Goes Global   

What’s the best-selling sports video game in the world?  

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s the soccer game FIFA, which has sold more than 325 million copies in 18 languages in 51 countries. 

Now for the first time, Kansas City’s new women’s soccer team has been included as a team option for gamers. 

The Current — and the entire National Women’s Soccer League — will be playable starting on Wednesday, which is the release date for FIFA 23

This rendering is of the future home of the Kansas City Current of the National Women's Soccer League.
This rendering is of the future home of the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League. (Rendering | Generator Studio)

Planet Comicon 

Planet Comicon returns to Kansas City this weekend and the celebrity guest list just got a whole lot bigger. 

“Jaws” and “Close Encounters” actor Richard Dreyfuss will now be appearing at the three-day convention, alongside Star Trek’s William Shatner and Henry Thomas, aka the little kid from “E.T.” 

Planet Comicon bills itself as the region’s largest pop culture and comic book event. 

It starts Friday at Bartle Hall. 

Big Shows 

The best-selling instrumental artist of all time will be in Kansas City this week. 

Popular saxophonist Kenny G will perform with the Kansas City Symphony tonight at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. If you’re bummed you’ve made other plans tonight, he’s here through Wednesday. 

Professional wrestling’s biggest superstars converge on T-Mobile Center Friday night for the WWE Friday Night Smackdown. 

Right after that show, an army of workers will tear down the wrestling ring and erect a stage for country music star Blake Shelton. The singer, who just announced he’s retiring from his famous red chair on “The Voice” will take the stage at T-Mobile Center Saturday night. 

Nick Haines tracks the week’s most impactful local news stories on “Kansas City Week in Review,” Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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