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Mad for March Madness

Katie Heit | Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This year, March brought quite a few surprises to South Bend – sunny skies, green grass, warm weather – but to me, March has always meant one thing and one thing only: March Madness. Already some of my friends are rolling their eyes. After one weekend of competition, they are already tired of the constant presence of basketball in their lives.

What they don’t understand is that March Madness is hands-down the greatest three weeks of sports in the entire year. Sure, the Super Bowl has its merits, the Masters create an entertaining Sunday afternoon and the All-Star weekend pulls our focus away from the real world for a few days. March Madness, however, is magical. It catches the attention of sports lovers and haters alike, creating a sense of competition between people who might normally not care at all.

People watch every game because they have a personal interest in who wins – they don’t want to see their bracket busted only two games in. It’s the time of year where anything can happen. No. 15 seeds can defeat top-ranked Missouri (effectively busting one of my brackets). Bad calls can prevent No. 16 teams from making history (I am firmly of the belief that the officials handed Syracuse their first game) and, yes, even Xavier can find some luck and defeat our beloved Irish. It is a time of impossible hope as you place your favorite team in the National Championship round, despite their seventh seed, and you believe with all of your heart that anyone who does otherwise is a traitor. It’s the time when Friday and Saturday nights are sacrificed in favor of heart-pounding wins and horrifying losses.

It’s one of the only times during the year when it is acceptable to yell at your television. It is a time of empowerment, as you tell the coaches through your TV what exactly they and their players are doing wrong. It is a time when you always know best, more so than your fellow viewers and more so than the experienced coaches and players. I’ve found that, as the players are now near my own age, I feel much more in the right to yell at them that they’re making stupid mistakes and need to start using their brains. It is also the only time of the year where I can enter a sports competition against the Observer Sports department and actually feel like I know what I’m talking about (a feeling that has been proven by my current first-place status).

For all of these reasons and a few more, March Madness is by far my favorite time of year. When the final buzzer sounds after the National Championship in two weeks, no matter who wins the title, I will find myself disappointed. I will also find myself drafting possibilities for next year’s bracket.

In the meantime, you can be assured that, come this Friday night, I will be sitting alone in my room, yelling at the television as my KU Jayhawks hopefully save me from another year of shame by advancing to the Elite Eight.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.