March Madness or March Meanness?

It is March Madness time, the NCAA Final Four Tournament. Some people hate this time of year because between the college men’s basketball tournament and the high school basketball tournaments - many shows are cancelled, moved or interrupted and many lives are put on hold. This results in many apathetic (to hoops) family members feeling disrupted and many of them actually become depressed. Ah, the poor babies. An acquaintance of mine, Spencer, as far as I know, coined the term “March Meanness” to describe the Final Four Tournament because of the hardships and the ups and downs and the strife this time of year puts on a fan. To Spencer, it's more than "madness" it is an actual "meanness". Of course, poor sod, he is a Texas fan.

Maybe I’m speaking more about fanatics than fans? There is a difference. Some people are just fans. Wimps that they are. They watch the games and maybe appreciate the athleticism and the entertainment value but they can watch a game sitting in their chairs and maybe even discuss the weather or current events while watching. They are pathetic in that apathy. I curse them for their levelheadedness. I don’t understand them. To just casually watch as if your life doesn’t hang in the balance? Cowards! They disgust me.

In my family my sister (a Syracuse fan) and I (the Duke fan) are fanatics. We eat, breath and live & die for March Madness. Our teams are usually good and contenders to win it all. Both of our teams were #1 seeds in fact last year. My sister, lucky dog, has season tickets to the ‘Cuse games. Good seats. She makes a weekly or bi-weekly pilgrimage to the Orange Dome whenever they play. She emails us with the ups and downs of each game. She watches with people and enjoys that camaraderie.

I don’t. I don't like to watch with other people. I watch the games alone now after many painful years of blaming anyone who dare move wrong or speak or twitch during a time when Duke is falling flat. I move around a lot and yell at the TV when things aren't going well. I switch lucky hats or shirts if things aren’t going Duke's way. My heart beats over a hundred times a minute and my blood pressure raises to post-cardiac arrest levels. I bleed blue for my Dookies. I don’t care if I graduated from UW-Madison and they have a decent team. I was a Duke fan before I went to college. I like Wisconsin but I LOVE Duke.

The terrible thing about the Final Four Tournament is that over 60 teams enter it and all but one of them exit the tournament with tears of regrets and feelings of depression. You yearn to take that ride that leads you to cutting down the nets in the final like a drug addict needing a fix. You want to let those tears of joy stream down your face as you listen to “One Shining Moment”, knowing that your team was the best of the best - NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions. It happens very rarely, mostly never for many fans because only one team gets to embrace that joy. The rest of us have to look slump our heads and look to next year while we lick our wounds. Our team is done – for forever. You’ll never see them as a group again. That is the hard part. And if your team loses early, you obsess about how you were robbed of 3-5 more games. If only! But no, now the ride is over. And it sucks. March Meanness is more accurate than March Madness. Hell, maybe it should be March Sadness?

“Oh, you care too much. It is just a game.”

Shut your apathetic pie hole!!!! Just a game!?!? Just a game? No wonder I don’t watch with people like you! Where is your soul man?!?!? Where is your spirit? Why not take a chance and embrace a team? The ups are so wonderful that way. When your big man races into the lane and slamma jammas that ball down the throat of the basket, there is no greater pleasure I tell you!!! Or when your team hits a three at the buzzer to beat your arch-nemesis conference rival and you know you are going to have bragging rights for the rest of the season… what could be better? “World peace?”, you might say. Are you friggin’ nuts?!?!? Screw world peace!?!?! I want those nets!!!! I want my team to cut down those nets!!!

Sadly, my sister’s Syracuse team went down a few days ago. Instead of a page and a half of joyous recap via the power of email there was silence. To my text of “sorry” there was only the single word reply of “slanks”. The suicide watch was on and no doubt her husband watched her carefully and hid all the sharp objects in the house. When your team loses, you tell yourself, “It is just a game. It is just a game.” But those words are hollow lies. It is the end of the world. I guess it wears off and the memory fades. You limp through another crappy warm summer and hold on through autumn... trying to not think about the heartache. And then before you know it is is November. The sweet warmth of November rolls around again and you start to hear about the new freshmen class players who will be on your team. In the early exhibitions, you start to embrace the new players and reacquaint yourself with the players from last year’s team. You start to get the lovin’ feeling back.

You start to live again and have the ups and downs of another season and into another March. Another chance to get those god damned nets. To have that one lousy shining moment. This year you won’t be the one crying, "they" will be!!!! They will be crying!!! Not me this time. It won’t be March Meanness or March Sadness this time. It will be March Gladness! National Champions! Your team with the President. Your team on “The Today Show”!!! You will get that elusive one shining moment and hold onto it. You’ll cuddle up with it. You’ll ignore the comments that you need to get a life. What do they know? Those cold heartless just "fans”. They know nothing! NOTHING!

March Madness or March Meanness? It doesn't matter. I'm just glad that it is March!

2010 One Shining Moment w/Luther Vandross

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Comments 21 comments

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

I empathize with your sister. I too am a Cuse fan (my daughter goes to Syracuse(. .and I totally can feel your words of being a fan . .why not embrace a team . You got that rifht!!! Though I do enjoy March Madness maybe cause it comes at a time where I am really feeling my football withdrawal;) Whatever it is I loved this Hub. It truly speaks to the fans that we all are/can be !

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Ah yes the Fanaticus (guys) Fanatica (gals) and the plural--Fanatici. I echo those sportsman gladiators of old--I am Fanaticus! Do the Aggies have a basketball team? =:)

bballbeadle 6 years ago

John, you perfectly captured it! This was an inspired piece of writing, coming from a place of deep crazy inside yourself, that is also within all of us. I LOVED it and sent it to everyone I know who is a Fanatic (or merely a Fan).

Orange Peggy (hey, wavegirl!)

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shenexon 6 years ago

Hi J,

I celebrated the wonderful season by Syracuse with your sister, though I've never met her. I wanted a ticket to a basketball game and she had one. She kept me fired up for the magic that was Syracuse basketball this year.

There are rare seasons where YOUR team is great. They come along once in a lifetime for some and once a year for others, but whenever they come, it feels rare. And it's not like there's a schedule to let us know what year to pay attention. If the love of sport or love of tradition goad you into being a fan, you may spend bundles of dollar bills and countless hours of travel, research, and recovery just as a minimum contribution. You watch and hope and pray that the great team is THIS year.

In short, that's the kind of year we felt it was in Syracuse, and we were right. We never had as selfless a team as this year and we got to experience greatness. One of the comments I liked this year was: "Who's the best player on Syracuse? - The OPEN man".

I've often thought that my best option as a fan would use the same philosophy: "What team should I love? - The winning team". Perhaps I'll attain that level of fanhood a bit later in life, but I'm not yet as selfless as the kids I loved watching all year. Good luck in your search for that next GREAT year.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

JB I hate to disturb your concentration, I know you are the sole reason for the result, but I wanted to join with you in your celebration. Congratulations Duke!

Duke University news! The last remaining #1 seed, Duke, will be joining Michigan State, West Virginia, and Butler for the Final Four 2010! The Duke Blue Devils went up against #3 Baylor University in Sunday’s Elite 8 matchup. The Baylor Bears played their hearts out in hopes of a chance to go to the Semifinals, but in the end, Duke was victorious 78-71.

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for the comments. I thought I was going to feel that agony of defeat for awhile but Duke did prevail and make the Final Four. The only #1 seed to do it this year. Hope they can win the last two games and take those nets in Indy! Then I can escape the pain!!!

Touchdown profile image

Touchdown 6 years ago from Michigan

As a Michigan State Fan....March has been very, very good to me!

velvet_hoop profile image

velvet_hoop 6 years ago

Yeah man I feel your pain my beloved Wildcats went down in a horrible way saturday. Bad part about it we were dubbed one of the most talented teams in the nation and just about everyone had us in the National Championship game although they had us losing, we were there. They, to me just simply overlooked wvu and allowed them to do whatever and they never really adjusted well to the other teams gameplan (story of the tourney so far). But trust our programs live to play another game and we (uk and Cuse) will be back as for duke wish yall the best.

sharpcleats12 profile image

sharpcleats12 6 years ago from Nazareth, PA

I have been a Duke fanatic since the days of Johnny Dawkins, man. I did not know what to make of this 2009-2010 squad, but they have really evolved into a team I enjoy watching. Scheyer is a prototypical Duke player, full of savvy and oozing leadership. Nolan Smith has really blossomed as well. The thing that fascinates me is how physical this team is compared to the teams of the past. The are big and athletic, and I love the way Zubek has been operating in the high post; guys collapse around him, and he is finding the shooters. It is great to see! Krzyzewski is at his best right now, and I think this will be another championship year. Love your hub! Go Devils!

Gary 6 years ago

And my wife thinks that I'm the only one who feels that way!

I thought that I was the world's best cuse fan. Then I met your sister-my cuse role model. Incidentally, I always root for Duke(unless they are playing the cuse.) The two best coaches in the nation-Coach B. and coach K.

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

I was pulling for you. . It was your night and Duke did it!!! Made it to the finals .. you must be mighty happy tonight! Just had to come say congrats and Happy Easter!

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks to all the commenters who commented on this hub and who could relate to the angst that this time of year brings to hoops fans around the globe. And special thanks to the Duke fans and supporters! One game to go!!!

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

By The Associated Press

April 06, 2010 12:00 AMINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The too-perfect basketball story with the too-perfect ending is still available on DVD. The real celebration for the new national champion — that's taking place on Tobacco Road.

Kyle Singler scored 19 points and Brian Zoubek rebounded Gordon Hayward's miss with 3.6 seconds left Monday night to help Duke beat Butler 61-59, ending the tiny underdog's try for a “Hoosiers” sequel one win short of the Hollywood ending.

The Bulldogs had a chance to win it at the end in an amazing sequence that defined this tournament. When Gordon Hayward's half-court shot at the buzzer went flying, thudded off the backboard and rim, and out and most of the crowd of 70,390 gasped, “Ohhhh.” So close.

The Blue Devils (35-5) snapped Butler's 25-game winning streak and brought the long-awaited fourth national title back home to Carolina and the Cameron Crazies.

The “Big Three” — Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith — won the Big One for coach Mike Krzyzewski, his first championship since 2001 and the fourth overall, tying Coach K with Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time list.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Puke on Duke. They barely beat a mid-major school for the championship. They never would have beaten Kentucky. We drove to Butler and bought Butler gear.

Fear the Bulldogs.

Grrr... I hate Duke.

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest Author

@Nicomp... Don't be a hater on both Duke and the mid-majors! Butler was as good as any team in the country last year. Well, except Duke as was shown in the championship game!!! I respect your Duke hating, Sir. But I would think a grad student would have more smarts than that! Join the Duke side of the force! It's your only hope.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

I rebuke you and your Dookiness. We shall remain cyber-friends as we agree to disagree on this (huge) issue. Crimson and Cream forever!

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Posted March 10, 2011:

Bracket Manager Invitation

You are invited to join my on-line college hoops bracket

group! To accept this invitation and join the group, click

the link below (or cut and paste the link into your

browser's address field). You'll be asked to enter the

password before you can join. The group password is included

in this e-mail.

Our Group password is: luvduke

nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

I still hate Duke.

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Husky1970 5 years ago

Well, another Duke fan. We are so lucky! Four National Championships in the past 20 years. But that just means that our season has ended with a loss 80% of the time in those 20 years. And we are the lucky ones. Or are we? I say that because our expectations are so high. We enter just about every NCAA Tournament thinking we do really have a chance. We always seem to be disappointed with anything less than a Final Four appearance. It starts with 68 teams and 67 of them end up with a loss. Well, the news that Kyrie Irving will be returning to action is awesome. Some fans would worry about what that might do to team chemistry as Kyrie has sat out for 26 games. But not me. We have a great team who all rely on one another. And we have Coach K. I wrote a hub about Coach K that expresses my feelings about his ability to lead and I have complete confidence that the entire team will be embracing Kyrie's return and looking forward to any contribution he can make.

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Husky1970 - I'd agree that sometimes the Duke pain is great because expectations are always high. I'd really like to see Kyrie play too - for his sake mainly and if that helps Duke at all that would be fantastic. But mainly for his sake because that kid has shown such a great attitude considering the year he was about to have and then needing to watch from the sidelines. As a competitor myself I know how killer that can be. I certainly wouldn't have shown his grace.

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 4 years ago from Midwest Author

2012 Tourney was the saddest of them all... if you are a Duke fan.

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