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March Madness

Greg Arbogast | Friday, March 10, 2006

Madness: defined as the quality or condition of being insane. Seems like a pretty apt description of the three-week rollercoaster ride set to begin with next Thursday’s NCAA basketball games.

When else does the entire male population either call in sick or simply take two days off so they can plop in front of the television for 36 hours straight?

When else could you ever see a grown man reduced to tears because Hampton just upset Iowa State in … anything.

When else would you ever hear the following exchange: “Why are you so happy?” … “Because T.J. Sorrentine just sent the Vermont Catamounts into the round of 32.”

In fact, last year I helped my high school soccer team win a playoff-clinching game the same night that the aforementioned Vermont team defeated Syracuse. Guess which one I was more excited about? If that’s not madness, what is?

My point is basically this: There’s no better sporting event in America than March Madness.

In a country chock-full of quality sporting entertainment, that’s a pretty bold statement. I’ve heard the arguments for college football’s bowl week, the NFL’s playoffs and Major League Baseball’s World Series.

None of these, however, combine the unpredictability, the excitement from watching kids with no NBA future take down the big boys (No. 14 Weber State over No. 3 North Carolina, anyone?), or the sheer joy from predicting that 13 over 4-seed upset that March Madness brings to the table.

Put these elements together, and you have some of the most unforgettable moments in sporting history.

Who doesn’t remember Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew being mauled by his teammates after his buzzer-beater sunk Ole Miss? Or the disbelieving look on the Kentucky players’ faces after Christian Laettner broke their hearts?

What about everybody’s then-favorite Cinderella, Gonzaga, coming out of nowhere with consecutive runs to the Elite 8 and Sweet 16? (Don’t worry – if you can’t recall any of these moments, CBS will make sure they remind you about 200 times over the next three weeks).

Combine all the virtues of March Madness with the fact that it comes immediately after the worst oh-my-God-I’ve-resorted-to-watching-golf-and-bowling four-week stretch of sports for the entire year, and you’ve got yourself a little piece of heaven on earth.

So after suffering through the doldrums of February, it’s time for me, along with many others, to lose my head for the best three-week stretch of the year.