March Madness is the best sporting event of all time. It’s the only sporting event that brings together households, offices and schools. 40 million Americans fill out a bracket each year, and more people join in yearly. The third Thursday of each March, the world stops: at noon until past midnight, there is nonstop basketball, constant action and unforgettable moments. And the next day, it repeats all over again. Over the weekend, there’s eight more games a day until there’s finally a break. No other event will have a combined 48 games in four days and still make them all fun to watch.
But my favorite part of March Madness is the hunt for the perfect bracket. Correctly predicting every single game of March Madness seems like an impossible feat, but every year people think someone will finally do it. The chances are astronomically low — 1 in 9.2 quintillion — but everyone believes one year it will finally happen. It is a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit. We will watch each game until, eventually, the last perfect bracket is gone. And next year it will all repeat. We get another chance, and that is the beauty of it all.
But why is it so hard to get a perfect bracket? It’s all about the upsets. Every year one team that was flawless throughout the regular season will get upset, yet the upset still catches the whole basketball community off guard every single time. Last year, it was No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s beating No. 2 seed Kentucky, then later No. 3 seed Purdue. A few years before that, it was Oral Roberts, Florida Gulf Coast and Middle Tennessee. No one predicts these tiny mid-major schools upsetting some of the biggest in the nation. It’s the ultimate David versus Goliath story. It gives hope to smaller schools across the country that one day they will be the ones who achieve the biggest upset in college basketball history.
March Madness is also incredible because it features, in my opinion, the greatest single game upset of all time in any sport. Late at night during the first day of March Madness in 2018, No. 1 seed Virginia played No. 16 seed Maryland, Baltimore County. Normally UVA would be destroying UMBC, but something was in the air that night. The guards at UMBC destroyed UVA, and it wasn’t even close throughout the game. They were the only No. 16 seed to ever beat, no, destroy a No. 1 seed.
But overall, March Madness is so great because of the memories. Everyone who watches remembers at least one game or play. Everyone fondly recalls filling out one bracket as a kid or watching the games in the middle of a class. It’s special to tens of millions of Americans, and every one of these people can tell you a story about it. Very few events unite a country like the tipoff of the first game of the tournament, and the experience is unmatched. In life, there are very few certainties, but every March I find myself faced with two: I will always watch March Madness, and I will always think I have the perfect bracket.