Columnist reflects on what makes the NCAA tournament so special
By Cole Pirwitz
What could be said to describe the NCAA tournament? March seems to be when everything springs back to life, and millions of people come together to watch three whole week of pure chaos.
Basketball has been part of my life forever. Along with playing it, I love watching. It’s a sport I love, but also hate at the same time. I’ve probably watched hundreds of hours of basketball, but there is something special about the NCAA tournament. Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer the NBA nine times out of ten compared to college basketball. I can’t stand watching how many kids go one and done, straight to the NBA. But that’s not for here or now. This is about going to the diaper dandies to cinderellas. From Dunk City to Coach K, Laettner to Steph to Hayward. It’s about survival of the fittest, and the pure chaos that ensues.
For years I’ve watched, along with millions, the NCAA Tournament. Why wouldn’t I? I love to fill out brackets and have the most random teams going all the way. My favorites so far, was when my two championship teams both got eliminated in the first round. Great call, right? Even with my misfortunes in predicting the final outcomes, I was never disappointed. I have always been stuck to my T.V. (or my phone in class), following three games at once, rooting for the biggest of upsets to happen without busting my bracket. And when a team makes an improbable run, oh I would be rooting for them all the way. I catch this craze every year, and it takes over for a few weeks every March.
But why does all this madness matter? What makes the tournament so special? It’s the people who follow. And who are these people? Millions of people from around the nation. The craze of the tournament seems to take over the least likely of people, from the oldest grandma to the youngest child, they all seem to know what’s happening. Is it because of the the upsets? Sure, but it’s much more than that. The pride, the pageantry; the sheer passion that the players show while getting cheered on by a much more passionate fan base. I, for one, follow it game by game, staying up till one in the morning to see a game that I would never watch unless it was in the tournament. Millions fill out brackets, bet thousands of dollars and adapt a new team to cheer one for just one game.
So, what is March Madness. The 68 best teams fighting it out to be called the best college basketball team? Yes—and no. March Madness emcompasses the heartache, the thrill, the love for competition. Student athletes battling out to advance while millions of people watch, hoping for some sort of hero to show their “magic” to the whole world. From buzzer beaters to the upsets. The tournament is watching one of the most simplistic sports in the world while slowly falling in love with it. From the pure craze to the pure dominant, a three week period in mid March will captivate millions. And that is the “Magic of March.”