How do I know March Madness is huge? My wife knows about it(albeit she describes it as ‘that tournament thing’ but for what she does know about sports, ‘tournament thing’ is equivilant to being intellectually par with Billy Packer)It’s March Madness. No other month has the type of gravitas to assert itself as being so good as to be complete Madness. October has the October Classic but that sounds like an equestrian show rather than a real sport. March Madness is unpredictable. Edge of your seat exciting. Brackets. Even more unpredictable. Gambling. And more gambling.
Work will grind to a halt over the next two weeks. Digger Phelps’ breakdowns of Thursday’s first round will be watched by more men than the Victoria Secret lingerie show on CBS(bonus guys, you can watch this one with your wife in the room). Everyone is filling out brackets. Women in your office are filling out brackets by asking you what color the Dayton Flyer’s colors are and what sort of mascot Utah State is represented with.
Meanwhile you have put more statistical analysis into your bracket of 64 teams than Michael Lewis put into writing MoneyBall(and yet, last year, Connie in accounting had Western Kentucky picked because her daughter’s favorite color is red).
I am currently working on my ‘Hometown’ sheet. This is the bracket where hometown teams find themselves in the Final Four(I have just rationalized the perfect scenario for Villanova and Temple to advance, it could happen with a fluke LSU victory in the second round over UNC and the almost never seen 15/2 upset with Duke in the East..) I still have seven or eight sheets to fill out with the care of a well rounded dose of College GameDay, SportingNews scouting reports, and sheer gut feelings.
Your mind is racing right now wondering if Wisconsin is the 12 seed going to pull off the annual 5/12 upset tradition. Not to worry too much, just fill in another bracket. Multiple chances to make the same mistakes you make every year yet until the first weekend is over, your hope blinds you to the inevitable. Imagine if our lives worked the way the NCAA tournament did?(I would have been out a long time ago…about the time I thought to roll the dice on the never seen 16/1 upset. It has to happen sometime. It has to.) Missed the mark on that job interview? Not to worry, that was an old bracket. You have a new one to start over with. We try to control our lives or fool ourselves into believing we are controlling our lives much like we fool ourselves into believing picking March Madness brackets is nothing more than luck and an educated guess(sounds like the SAT’s and most of college for me). One false move and we could find ourselves being beaten by the person who picked the 14th seed because they have a cousin whose roommate in graduate school had a boyfriend who was the trainer for that 14th seed team who upset your stone cold lock of a 3rd seed(who you would have put your kid’s college money on being in the Final Four this year). The tournament, like life, can change in a moment.
This is why the March Madness resonates with other people outside of college basketball. This is why lottery’s are so popular. Why casino’s bank millions. No skill involved. No talent required. No control had. Just accept the challenge and and close your eyes. For all the things we try and control is how many spiral completely out of it. An alarm that never rings. A wallet lost to a puddle in the parking lot. A bad bounce of the ball. A ref who swallowed his whistle. It’s just a nice release when you allow for chance and stop thinking you have so much control over things(you…me…we don’t you know.).
Life, much like any one of the three dozen NCAA brackets you just filled out, is madness. Whether it’s March…or April, or October. Enjoy it. Embrace the Madness. The sooner you do, the sooner you can break free from the faux control you believe to have over your own life and enjoy your life again. That and maybe finally you will get to see your original picks in the Final Four instead of Susan in Marketing’s….what does she know about a 2-3 zone anyway…….
- Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country (and bald...and cranky...and out of shape...in the service of being a parent) - George Washington
Seek and Ye Might Just Find