Brackets and Broken Dreams: A March Madness Love Story


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Spring time. The time of year when the frost begins to melt and the weather starts to warm up.
For sports fans, spring training is in full swing with opening day right around the corner, the much-anticipated NFL draft is upon us and both the NBA and NHL are gearing up for the playoff push.
March and April may be among the most exciting times for sports fans.
Dozens of teams are fighting to be one of the best 68 men’s college basketball teams in the country. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you March Madness.
Millions fill out brackets, Cinderella finds her glass slipper and a champion is crowned. It is the ultimate gauntlet of sports supremacy.
The tournament is where legends are made, legacies are created and fairy tales are written.
As I sit here writing this, I do so angrily, as my bracket has just been “busted.”
It’s day two of the tournament and already I’ve seen half of my final four and my national champion bounced from the tournament (thanks Wisconsin and Georgetown). More of the reason why this tournament inspires the name March Madness.
There is the dreaded five-twelve match up which almost always produces an “upset.” The ever so close eight and nine match up that is almost always an uncertainty. And let’s not forget the humiliation of being a top two seed losing to a 15 or 16 seeded team.
So far, one has yet to have been knocked off but it is bound to happen eventually. Gonzaga was given a scare by Southern but in my opinion the ‘Zags should be a two or three seed.
We have seen some Goliaths sitting in the two seed spot that have been taken down by the Davids sitting at 15. Most notably Duke losing to Lehigh a year ago and Georgetown (my championship pick) being defeated by Atlantic Sun champion Florida Gulf Coast University. The same FGCU team that defeated Coach Warren and the JU Dolphins by just three in early February.
With great anguish comes great parody. It is a time like no other. Sure anyone can beat any team on any given day, but it still doesn’t compare to March Madness.
While my bracket is not totally trash, with the majority of my picks actually coming true thanks to a few good games by “underdogs,” this is still a great time for sports.
You get to see athletes playing the games we love for all the right reasons. These aren’t spoiled, millionaire punks playing for a paycheck. These are kids, most the same age as you and I, that are representing their family, their university and themselves. Win or lose, they’re all doing one hell of a job doing so.
The thing about a 68-team, one-and-done tournament is that there are 67 teams that have to lose along the way. Some of those kids are seniors who will never play basketball again. There are the lucky few who will go on to play professionally but that’s not the likely destination for most.
Over the next 10 days or so, most of us will go to class or work, rush through all that we need to get done and flock to the nearest television or sports bar to watch the games. Countless hours of buzzer-to-buzzer basketball.
So if your bracket hasn’t already made its way to the nearest trash can, call your friends, sit back and enjoy the madness.

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