Friday, March 19, 2010

March Gladness

Let me tell you something right now. Whatever power it is that March Madness has over the disposition of human beings, someone should figure it out and bottle it up and sell that junk because. MY GOOD GRAVY, that is some magical good stuff.

Madness. That's what it is. But this year, more than any other (I guess because being 26 makes you more observant), I have noticed the magic that the NCAA Basketball Tournament brings to sports fans and non-fans alike.

People who don't even care anything about college basketball are filling out brackets and glued to the television for 12 hours a day, all in the name of being right.

That's my kind of day right there.

No. Really kidding. Although, I do love being right. And I don't mind 12 straight hours of basketball.

However the other day as I was watching some games at a restaurant with friends/coworkers, and as I began to realize that the crowd had trickled out and we were just about the only ones there. It didn't matter. We never even noticed. Our eyes were fixated on the jumbo flat screen as we cheered on teams that we had never would have cheered for before. I mean, really, I can count on my thumb how many times I've rooted for New Mexico and Baylor and Georgetown in any type of athletic competition.

But as New Mexico and Tennessee and Wake Forest hit their final shots last night, I found myself cheering louder than I have all year (outside the confines of my apartment) and giving hi-fives and fist bumps to people I barely knew.

And maybe talking a little trash as well.

It all brings this back to one main point for me. The reason I love sports. The reason I'm so passionate about this thing that consumes my life day after day.

The reason?

Sports brings people together. How many times have you been to a football game in the freezing cold or the blazing hot temperatures, and it comes down to the wire? This is go hard or go home time for your team. Your team either has everything to gain or everything to lose. One play and your world is rocked. You're either bear hugging the stranger in the seat in front of you, holding hands with the person beside you, or passing the Kleenex to the row behind you.

It's the championship basketball game and you've already sat through two overtimes. Two free throws is what it all comes down to. And you find yourself participating in superstitions with the people around you.

Or its the biggest baseball game of the year. Against your biggest rival. A lot at stake. Your best player, who has been "O-fer" all day, steps up to the plate with two outs. Do you look on? Or do you shut your eyes and throw up a prayer to heaven for the walk-off homer with the person sitting next to you?

It's all about team. Cheerleading is as far as I got to being on any kind of team, unless you count kick ball in fifth grade recess.

But it's also about coming together for a common purpose. And hope. You know we all inevitably HOPE our teams wins. Even though your team may be down 45-3 at the end of the third quarter, (if you're like me) you still have that hope of a miraculous comeback. I guess that's why I never leave a game early.

Anyway, that was my small sports-fanatical schpiel for the week. I hope you enjoyed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check my brackets.


Go check out Jon Acuff's humorous take on NCAA brackets and gambling. Because we all know, when it comes to gambling, filling out an NCAA bracket doesn't count.

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