Madness is Back

Mar 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Sports

By Brandon Chinn

It’s the middle of March, and school is kicking my ass. Papers are piling up and tests are getting harder. I look outside a window at the library, only to see the rarity of a sunny day in Salem giving hope to what looks to be a promising summer.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been counting down the days to ultimate freedom. Yes, spring break is just three school days away, but the sweet feeling of release is arriving much sooner. It has been looming heavily on my mind, and finally, after all the anxious waiting, March Madness is back.

The 12-month calendar features several great moments throughout the year, but few are greater than the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Especially in the realm of sports, it offers much more than any single game or event ever could.

But extend beyond the realm of the sports world, past the jocks and meatheads, and you’ll find that it has a lot to offer you, too.

The NCAA Tournament consists of 68 teams, all of which will square off in a single-elimination, win or go home format.

It doesn’t matter how many wins a team had in the regular season, or how many players are going to the NBA next season. The only thing that matters is the score when that final buzzer sounds.

The single-elimination format intensifies every moment of the game. There is zero room for error. Even the slightest of slip-ups could signal the end of a long journey.

This heightened intensity adds a major sense of drama to March Madness. Who will advance? How far will they go? Seeing teams at the top with their backs against the wall … the uncertainty makes for one dramatic month.

At Willamette, drama is something we are all too familiar with, especially at this small liberal arts institution, I’m constantly made aware of all the “he said, she said” talk, who is dating whom and who liked whose Facebook posts.
If there is something people at this school really crave, it’s drama.

March Madness always promises to offer at least one “Cinderella story” every year. This is perfect because personally, being both a Yankees and Lakers fan (it’s pathetic, I know), I’ve come to realize people’s craving for a true underdog.

There is no better place to find that underdog success story than the tournament. Last year, Florida Gulf Coast University entered the tournament as a lowly number 15 seed. Taking on powerhouse Georgetown University, a no. 2 seed, FGCU upset the Hoyas 73-68.

The underdog team from Florida didn’t stop there; advancing all the way to being one of just 16 teams remaining, Florida cemented itself as the feel good story of the year.

March Madness is more than just a sporting event. It’s 10 days of non-stop thrilling action, leaving every viewer on the edge of his or her respective seat.

It’s a chance to bond with friends, day drink and even win a bunch of money (unless you’re a student-athlete).
Ultimately, March Madness is about the players. It’s a climactic finish to a season that started over five months ago. It’s a moment they’ll always remember. What’s not to love?

bchinn@willamette.edu

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