March 7, 2012
On March 11 the field will be announced for the greatest tournament known to mankind. 68 colleges and universities get to do-si-do as the Big Dance kicks-off on the road to the Final Four in New Orleans. For nearly a month, the passion of college athletics will be so thick one couldn’t slice it with a machete.
Beginning March 11, millions of people, whether they know anything about college basketball or not, will fill out a bracket. In fact, most people will fill out five or six brackets before deciding on “the one” and playing hoops with the nearest trash can with the rest.
Just like the NCAA basketball tournament, there will be contenders, pretenders, and a few Cinderellas in your office pool. There’s always the office stat-head, who makes it seem that they have the upper-hand because of proof in numbers. There’s always the colleague who seemingly makes their selections by picking their winners out of a hat, which drives the stat-head crazy because it defies logic. Then there’s always the coworker who makes their selections based on which animal or color they like better.
You see, the beauty in the madness is that each coworker has an equal chance of winning. Anything can happen, and the more things that get thrown out of whack—the better the tournament.
College basketball is a microcosm of the American spirit. It’s where unity takes place, hard-work and determination come to fruition, and where everyone loves an underdog.
For some schools and their fans, just making the tournament is all they’ve ever wanted. For others, making the tournament has become expected. Regardless if it’s the first time or the 50th, it’s always special.
The first weekend of the tournament—and by weekend I mean four days— is simply a dream come true for any fan of the human condition. These days read like a juicy novel filled with the excitement of anticipation, non-stop action and drama. It should be made a national holiday.
The first two days of the tourney, Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16 are the two best days of the year. 16 games each day—four games run simultaneously on four separate media outlets for over 12 straight hours of basketball bliss—it doesn’t get any better than that.
These are the days where teams with big expectations will be big disappointments, little-known players become legends, and where a nation will be quickly swept off their collective feet by the old maid who has suddenly become the prettiest girl in the room. This is the time that people simply can’t get enough, where becoming entwined in madness is the only sane thing to do.
This is March—it’s time to dust off your dancin’ shoes.