March Madness – Married To The Mayhem

(Image Credit Wunderdog.com)

The recent theatrical release “Table 19” opens with Anna Kendrick as a former maid-of-honor, recently fired from that role but invitation still in hand…questioning whether to RSVP to the wedding-in-question. She eventually makes the most of her invite and (spoiler alert) – with a little luck – goes from the disappointment of being seated at the least desirable table at the reception to putting the wheels in motion towards starting a family with the man she loves.

68 teams will also RSVP their invitations in the affirmative to this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and (spoiler alert) – with a little luck – look to make the most of their invites as well.

Why do so many get hitched each and every March to the marvelous mayhem this event provides? As easy as B-A-S-K-E-T-S…

 

B

Brackets, Brackets, Brackets – The Tournament’s schedule…the bracket…is the coat of arms of March Madness. Millions upon millions of brackets are ruminated upon and eventually completed (pencil and eraser recommended in the early stages). Even if there’s no wager on the line bragging rights are available against yourself, your family, your co-workers…even your pets. Your pets have as good a chance at winning a bracket contest as you do. I consider myself knowledgeable as far as college hoops are concerned and I’ve only picked two Tournament champions in the last decade. By the Final Four the people still eligible to win bracket pools are often those that picked squads based on their favorite colors or their perceived superiority of school mascots…or they really did let their pets pick. Hardcore fans look at predicting March Madness as a winning proposition either way. If their bracket busts badly they’re still having a blast watching because that means the Cinderella stories are even more plentiful. One pet peeve…sport a bracket of integrity. Do one bracket. Own it. Enter as many contests as you’d like but don’t hedge on your original selections.

A

America Loves Underdogs – We root like crazy for ‘em. We heart any story where the little guy or the unfavored emerge victorious. March Madness seedings bring clarity to even the most inexperienced fan as to who should defeat who. Underdogs and favorites are clearly defined.  We know by the end of the first round the entire nation will be talking about a player 99% of the country hadn’t heard of before the Tournament started. We know by the end of the second round the entire nation will have four days to chat up a team 99% of the country hadn’t been aware of before the tournament started. Surprising and spectacular stars emerge every March.

S

Shared Experiences – Watching the Tournament and participating in bracket competitions bring people together regardless of whether their politics are red or blue (yes, even now…). People of all ages feel universally connected to something much bigger. It is the ultimate live, unscripted reality show. Stories generated from the competition are positive, often heartwarming ones. Many people watch the Olympics for the same reason – the human interest stories. The emotions openly expressed by the participants while navigating wins and losses throughout March Madness similarly reflect what we all experience internally every day just navigating life.

(Image Credit Peanuts.Wikia.com)

K

Knowledge (And The Absence Of It) – The basics of basketball are (contrary to the above) easily grasped. I think we can all identify with the concept of taking a ball and trying to put it in a target. Many growing up had a basketball as a treasured, on-call pal when no one else happened to be around…yours truly included. It’s an easy game to take in and doesn’t take long even for those with the shortest attention spans. Further, filling out a bracket and predicting results with predictably unpredictable outcomes provides a great, common equalizer for those who don’t follow college hoops at all. It is easy to get engaged and even play along with the play. (Trust me – those “experts” holding court about who’ll win on the court haven’t seen a third of these teams play an entire game. None of us knows exactly how events will unfold.)

E

Endless Endings – The first weekend of March Madness provides for a relentless tsunami of a viewing schedule with overlapping finishes stretching from early afternoon to late night. Memorable conclusions stream into waiting rooms and watering holes alike. Games are on at work…games are on at bedtime. And they mean everything to those participating…which makes watching as many as you can even more special. A #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed…but we can’t wait for the moment they do. As CBS Sports’ Seth Davis is fond of saying “History repeats itself…until it doesn’t.”

T

Time Of Year– Most of the nation is trying to wake up from its winter hibernation…even when Mother Nature sometimes struggles to fully cooperate. Filling out a bracket, watching the games and tallying the results have become hand-in-hand with the hope spring is right around the corner. The timing on the sports calendar also fuels the fire and passion of March Madness as the Super Bowl is distant in the rear view mirror (except for Atlanta of course)…while months of NBA and NHL playoffs have yet to begin. Major League Baseball’s Opening Day even waits until most of the Madness has subsided.

S

Sudden Death, Sudden Victory – The overwhelming finality of it all…for both winners and losers. A nation fattened up courtesy of playoffs and series in other sports is presented instead with a rollercoaster of stripped down, lean, one-and-done competition. Do-or-die contests have great appeal for a viewing audience otherwise used to seeing teams get multiple chances to win a championship.

 

March Madness comes down to survive and advance. Teams that successfully adapt and adjust to each previously unscheduled opponent in front of them…as well as have luck staying healthy and benefiting from results that clear a slightly easier path…get a shot at winning it all.

I recently heard someone comment “Luck is a construct for the untalented.” I don’t believe that. Certainly not in the case of March Madness. We all need luck towards achieving objectives and the eventual NCAA Tournament champion most certainly requires it. You don’t survive a field of 68 without good fortune.

The classic English writer Charlotte Brontë wrote in her novel “Villette” that “Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not match the expectation.” I don’t believe that. Certainly not in the case of March Madness. The core expectation, the very essence of March Madness is being beautifully unpredictable. Frenzied, fan-tastic mayhem.

(Image Credit GoComics.com)

RSVP in the affirmative to March Madness if you haven’t already. You’re guaranteed a great seat at any table (or nest) of your choice.

And…it never disappoints.

(Image Credit NCAA.com)

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside Philadelphia PA. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen US states (most just one time each) and Canada (twice). 50-plus years - married 30-plus years. Love massive quantities of sports, television and movies (viewed in a movie theater).
This entry was posted in Basketball, College Basketball, College Sports, Comics, Entertainment, Life, Media, NCAA, Peanuts, Sports, Television, Thoughts, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to March Madness – Married To The Mayhem

  1. Samantha says:

    Very enjoyable read, even for someone like me, with zero knowledge of basketball or March Madness (well, I do have experience in the field of the latter, but in a different way, haha!).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Quirky Girl says:

    I don’t really follow basketball as much lately…but I can’t help feeling sorry for poor Woodstock, sitting in a nest that doubles as Snoopy’s basketball hoop. 😛

    Liked by 3 people

  3. leggypeggy says:

    I love basketball. Don’t see much of it here in Australia (no cable TV), but a big fan when I lived in the USA.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I love March Madness! Of course, I don’t have a prayer of picking all the winners all correctly—otherwise, Warren Buffet’s money is mine!—but I’ll try. Since Cal failed to get in guess I’ll pull for little U.C Davis, St Mary’s of Moraga, and Nevada-Reno. meaning… you’re likely to continue in having two more winners than me, Bruce. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  5. You just have to be caught up in the enthusiasm and madness. Peanuts crowd is perfect for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dutch Lion says:

    Excellent post as always Bruce! I thoroughly enjoyed it. You’re right. It’s definitely MADNESS. I completely agree with you about “owning” one bracket. You can’t hedge your bets. It creates competition within your own brain if you pick different winners in different pool entries. I fill out out one set of picks and enter it in many places. Last year worked out for me and I was lucky enough to win money from multiple hosts. Despite the fact I’m a huge college basketball fan since the 80s, I still have only picked a couple or maybe three correct Championship winners all time. Last year I picked Villanova and it was the joy of a lifetime when Jenkins hit that game winning buzzer beating 3 pointer. Back in 2002 I picked Maryland correctly. Hmmmm, maybe I need to stick with those squads from out in your neck o’ the woods. 🙂 Put me down for a ‘Nova repeat, even though we know that will never happen, what with the Madness and all. Thanks Bruce!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reid, thanks for the kind words. I am happy you’re in agreement about owning one bracket. I put a lot of thought into making my selections (although history shows that is useless) and the last thing I would do is try to win flooding the competition with multiple entries. We here in the Philly area were amazed at Villanova’s run last year…as we were when they defeated Georgetown 30-odd years earlier. And what a finish it was. Jay Wright was always known as a great dresser and recruiter but he proved last season he’s a great coach as well. Here’s hoping they’ll do it once more. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ☺😊😀 enjoyed reading this!❤
    Loved the way you broke it down.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Very nicely done! I fill out two brackets in our company pool. One with my head and one with my heart. I went to WVU and to Pitt. Pitt didn’t make it. My brother went to ISU, so I’ll be pulling for those two Big-12 teams. I also, usually root for anyone playing UConn, but UConn is outside looking in this year, so I don’t need the negative energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Will I be working from home on Thursday? You bet I will!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. George says:

    I LOVE this time of year especially the first weekend and you’re right, it never disappoints.
    I stopped doing the pools because I love rooting for the underdog and I found myself pulled I both directions. Do I want to see some real fun and an upset or do I want my bracket not to be busted. After many years I chose the fun.
    It’s wide open this year. It should be a fun ride..)
    Great post, Bruce.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment and the kind words George. The first four days are amazing aren’t they? The build-up is ferocious and by the end of the weekend most teams are home watching with the rest of us. I agree rooting for the underdogs versus picking winners can be a bit problematic. I always lean towards those ‘dogs also. Enjoy the ride! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. reocochran says:

    I had an ex-husband who would purchase two large white poster boards, one would have his basketball brackets and the other his son would fill in on his weekends with us. I loved a little of the March madness atmosphere. My own son was a soccer (first), baseball next and the rest of his life, football games loving man. 🙂
    I love Peanuts comics and the grandkids found out during the animated film how wise that Charles Schultz was! The holiday shows are fun but those daily comics Rand such a gamut of subjects. You post was a pure delight! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment and the kind words Robin. I sometimes wonder how many adults grew up on the daily comic strip and then watched the TV specials or watched those specials and then “backed into” the strip itself when Schulz was writing it. The demand for his comic continues strong to this day long after those original strips ended. The recent theatrical release certainly created a whole new generation of fans!

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Kohl’s Cares is a project where books are only $5 and they had two great, colorful Peanuts books, “Be Yourself” and “You Can Do Anything.”
        Bruce, I actually read the Peanuts comics in books. I kept only two of them but one has Charlie Brown looking rather “young” when his baby sister, Sally, comes home from the hospital. It is worn and raggedy. It’s only a “collectible” to me. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have seen that Kohl’s promotion you mention Robin. I still read the strip daily because over the years I’ve admittedly forgotten some to the point they are “new” all over again. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • reocochran says:

            I once had a minister who would point out the way Schultz, liked quoting the Bible. Once I found the “Gospel According to Peanuts” book at the library.
            I’m with you on reading old fashioned comic strips, Bruce. Family Circus, Marmaduke and even corny Blondie comics (and of course her hubby, Dagwood) are my favorites. 🙂 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  12. As I write this, sitting here comfortably on my couch, the “favorites” setting on my remote set to the four channels showing college games, both 5-12 match-ups (Princeton-ND and UNCW-UVA) are nail-bitingly tight.

    Mmmmmmm, March.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Skipah says:

    It’s a rite of passage for and should be an entry into the Americana lexicon. Would be nice if my damn Hoosiers would consistently get to participate! Oh wait, we are doing something about that these days ……….hopefully!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My husband has been so upset with our team (IU) he could spit, ha! His recent tirade…why would they even turn down a chance to play at home even if it wasn’t the NCAA but the NIT. Well, recent news in this town…Tom Crean fired. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bun Karyudo says:

    It’s nice that there’s something people can enjoy irrespective of their politics, race or creed.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Brackets, Dan Dakich, Yale, Indian Cuisine..this ought to be interesting! ⋆

  17. scifihammy says:

    An entertaining read about a world of which I know nothing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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