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!