Some people might think that we at the College are totally above all the silliness that is “March Madness.” They assume that students at the College would never waste our precious studying, napping and “social faux pas” time worrying about the fate of athletes at schools we do not attend. They believe that our idea of victory is finding a seat at the library. They presume that, just because they sound like the delicious offerings at your neighborhood pre-made wrap stand, we cannot recognize the fine nuances between a “pick and roll” and a “give and go.” And to these naysayers I say … touché, but I also say, “Oh, we have the madness!” And we like it.
p. I would wager that here at the College, we appreciate March Madness more than those thankless wretches at places like UNC and Texas A&M. They take March Madness for granted. “Gosh, we won another basketball game? We’re some sort of champion, and we have another three-day celebration kegger? God, life is so tiresome; how I long for a nice, refreshing losing streak.”
p. We at the College, on the other hand, treasure the chance to vicariously live the life of athletics fans via the March Madness media mania (almost as much as we treasure the chance to use alliteration). Shoot, people have skipped classes to watch televised games. Do you understand the gravity of this situation? Students here go to classes in snow flurries, tropical storms and even on perfect days when they should really just be sitting in the Sunken Garden. Skipping class to sit alone in your bedroom and watch people you don’t know play a sport you may or may not understand is intense.
p. Aside from allowing our long-dormant primal sports fan some space to roam, what is it about NCAA basketball that gets our hearts pumping, our eyes twinkling and our prayer beads working?
p. I say it’s the gambling.
p. Bracket competitions are the muscle behind the madness. Brackets personalize the competition. When a person has a bracket, it’s not just some team she’s cheering for — she’s cheering to save her pride and to win some cash money. When a person’s chosen team loses, he’s not just another heartbroken fan; he’s subject to widespread humiliation at the hands of everyone else in his “pool.” If a person is on a winning streak, she gets bragging rights and an inflated sense of superiority — the kind that makes you want to post Facebook messages saying things like, “Eat it, newspaper nerds!” when you are currently winning your Flat Hat bracket. Yessssssss.
p. These are the sorts of things sports dreams are made of, no? I can just see the Georgetown (going all the way!) coach giving his halftime locker room speech. He doesn’t pansy around with talk of teamwork or pride or school spirit. He tells it like it is: “Guys, we need to step it up. Thousands, nay, millions of people are counting on you. Do you want your bracketeers to be the butt of office jokes tomorrow because you couldn’t get it together? Do you want Lauren Bell’s big fat drop in the previous paragraph to be rendered null? I didn’t think so. Let’s do this — for the numbers.”
p. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get in on the March Madness. You barely have to know what a basketball is or how it’s played. And if you — like many of us here at the College — harbor a deep psychological fear of sports, you don’t even have to watch the games (although I hear that yelling at the TV screen really helps your team to win). Just fill in some names on a bracket, then find someone who knows less than you to bet with (I hear newspaper people are easy pickings), and let the madness overtake you.
p. __Lauren Bell is a Confusion Corner columnist for The Flat Hat. She likes winning more than she likes basketball.__