Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I Love the NCAA Tournament

At the beginning of March I start to get this itching feeling that something exciting is about to happen. My foot taps wildly to the beat of some unheard music. And I seem to have the urge to eat pizza and chicken wings.
It's NCAA tournament time and besides maybe Christmas and Memorial Day it's my favorite time of the year. I've never really thought about why I love it so much, I just assumed it was the natural inclination of every man or woman that ever attended the University of Connecticut. But now that I have children I find myself being much more contemplative, so I spent some time examining why March Madness is so great...and here's what I came up with:
  1. Spring is in the air.- The tournament is in harmony with the seasons. I don't think that it is a coincidence that teams are "seeded" at the same time that my lawn and garden are also.
  2. Brackets are fun and easy.- It is very complicated to try to explain to my wife all the different conferences and automatic bids and at large bids and so forth (most of the time I don't understand it either) but once the 65 teams are chosen and put into the bracket, it is very easy to follow along.
  3. Shared knowledge (or lack of it).- Since almost no one knows about IUPUI or Mount St. Mary's or Robert Morris, we are all in the same boat when we choose our winners.
  4. Upset Specials.- Let's face it we love the underdogs. We root for Davey vs. Goliath and we hope that the small school with no scholarship players can beat the NBA factory school.
  5. Healthy Competition.- Sometimes I do get a little tired of hearing about the multi-million dollar contracts that professional athletes sign and it's nice to just watch young men and women that are playing hard for their team and their school. I'm sure winning the championship comes with certain "rewards" but in essence they are playing for bragging rights.
  6. Great stories.- Each year there are always a few incredible stories about individual players that have battled difficult circumstances in order to attend college and play basketball. They may not have an NBA career ahead of them, but then neither does my son, and I'd rather have him look up to a young person whose tenacity and character shines through more brightly than their basketball skills.
  7. Connecticut- Okay, so I'm a homer. I'm a UCONN fan (a disappointed men's fan and an amazed women's fan).
For me the NCAA tournament is a wonderful display of great physical feats and riveting emotional intensity.
And since UCONN is out, I need to find a substitute to root for...any suggestions?

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