The truth behind March Madness


Walking into the cafeteria I notice that something is off. Impressed, I notice all the guys are working diligently on their laptops, intensely studying and concentrating almost with fury.  They must be working really hard to get that GPA up or maybe studying for the upcoming ACT. Then the lightbulb goes off, it is not the stress of tests and homework that is driving these boys insane. It’s March and they are all mad, how could I be so oblivious? I quickly realized this could only be one thing, and it is definitely not the ACT.

March Madness is somewhat of an enigma to me. Honestly, I have never really understood the fascination that comes with watching basketball. Suddenly all the boys are arguing over if Michigan State’s early loss was justified, if Duke will ever come back, if the underdogs will pull through and (the biggest of them all) who has the better bracket. In every class instead of seeing attentive students, you will see faces lit up by flashing computer screens which are most likely streaming the games live. Oh, the joy of technology.

It’s impossible to dodge the constant basketball banter at home, at school, in the halls, parking lots, social media and even during class.  In one of my classes, students were working quietly until there was a sudden outburst of a boy jumping up with his arms in the air and his cell phone in hand,  “Yes! Michigan Won!”  Listening to the constant debates and overdramatic insults can easily be compared to a bunch of old ladies gossiping in a hair salon.  

However, it is made clear by anyone remotely involved that this is no laughing matter and not to be taken lightly.  “I could win the bracket this year, I feel it,” said a hopeful friend as I rolled my eyes.

I don’t have the heart to mention but, according to John Pike, a professor of mathematics at Cornell University, the odds of having a perfect bracket in 2016 are one in 9.2 quintillion.  My dear friend has a better chance of dating a supermodel, becoming President, dying from an unfortunate encounter with a coconut or becoming a professional basketball player himself than ever getting a perfect bracket.

Admittingly, the March Madness phenomenon is a break from the dull days of winter and a fun, if not constant, diversion from the daily grind of school.  I must say it’s quite entertaining to witness the passion and diligence which can only be compared to Staples Rec Basketball, but that’s a whole other madness story.