My Annual Madness

Every spring Brook Weber, a student not known for any love of sports, is completely taken over by a thirst for college basketball.

By Brook Weber

A simple guide to the month of March: eat, sleep, and watch basketball. For me, in any other month, watching basketball falls to the very end of the list. I usually can’t stand to watch the sport and if I do I scream at the TV asking for a travel, or constantly ask myself when an offensive foul is going to be called correctly. So what is it about March that captivates the entire country? One word: Madness.

One of the first things that creates this Madness is marketing, and I, as with many others, am a huge sucker for it. The NCAA has continued to exist mainly off the income produced by the Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Advertising and sponsoring from various companies are the sources of the money. They can’t play overtime, they have to play Buffalo Wild Wings Overtime. In fact if you haven’t noticed, I haven’t put the words March and Madness together, because it would probably be considered copyright infringement. While we may dislike admitting it, the cheesy commercials about the tournament actually spark some curiosity within us. These huge amounts of corporate support and various other moneymakers are a large part of what takes the tournament from melodramatic excitement, all the way to what it truly is, Madness.

Besides giving in to the marketing, I also invest myself in the tournament by filling out my bracket. The interesting part about The Madness is the personal involvement that we all have within the tournament. Whether it is Michigan State losing in the first round (still holding a grudge against them) or the University of Arkansas Little Rock beating Purdue (are you serious?) we all find our interest within that single sheet of paper that holds our most sacred picks for the tournament, and these picks unfortunately turn out to be garbage after one day. While we all want our bracket to win, we also find ourselves rooting for a “Cinderella Story.” This interesting balance leads to a large peak in interest within the tournament itself, and it is one that the NCAA thrives off of.

While watching specific games one at a time, you can begin to feel the personal connection with the team, which makes any loss much harder to take.

Besides the bracket, though, I also need to find a team to cheer for, and this bond will never be broken, at least until they lose (which they usually do). During the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 (Hopefully those aren’t copyrighted) my tendency is to find a favorite team and cheer for them and only them. This year that team was Notre Dame, and the NCAA effectively grabbed my interest by their relentless advertising of specific teams. While watching specific games one at a time, you can begin to feel the personal connection with the team, which makes any loss much harder to take. Including Notre Dame’s failure to keep up with North Carolina.

Another interesting idea that helps create intrigue is the competition that is always present in the tournament. Every team can win at any time within the tournament and every game has a potential for an upset. Sure, there are the Dukes and North Carolinas of the tournament that seemingly always are in the Final Four, but you can almost guarantee that there are other teams in the final group that can, and sometimes will, beat them. Compare that to the women’s side, where you could put UConn in the Final Four with the other three number one seeds and be sure that they will dismantle every team they get the chance to play.

The end of the tournament is always a tough thing to see, but when I look back I always have good memories. This year I saw how amazing the sport can be, though I am still recovering from the Villanova buzzer-beater for the championship and most people are still trying to say Arcidiacono (Archie-Dee-Ahk-Uh-No?). I always will remember the Madness through the playing of one song, and that is One Shining Moment. The video montage that accompanies the tune reminds us how wonderful the tournament was and how much fun it was to watch. So truth be told I love the dumb thing. It’s a terrible song and a horribly cheesy montage, but for some reason, every year it gives me goose bumps and makes me immediately look forward to next year’s tournament.