Don't Judge My March Madness Obsession: 7 Validating Reasons to Watch NCAA Tournament Basketball

Beware the Ides of March, for with it comes madness.

The kind of March Madness that keeps sports fans glued to the television; swearing, cheering, pleading, praying, and circling or etching out names on a printed tournament sheet like a bunch of drunk septuagenarian bingo ladies.

I have to admit, looking back, that this Duke team appeared
more likable than my UNLV Running Rebels.  
It's a strange phenomenon that makes even lay fans of college basketball suddenly think they are experts; almost like everybody in your office pool stayed at a Holiday Inn the night before. Yesterday you had no idea who the Dayton Flyers were, but now, based on ten minutes of research they are suddenly your favorite team from the Atlantic 10 conference. That guy who replaces the florescent bulbs every other year thinks that this is the year Gonzaga will finally advance to the Final Four. Jim, the guy who nobody likes, is picking Duke, again. (He even wears his Christian Laettner jersey to show how lost in time he is).

March, for most people, sucks to your assmar. It's a transitional month. Plants aren't quite blooming yet, but their annoying pollens are everywhere. March isn't cold enough to snow or warm enough to go swimming. And in my corner of the world it rains every time a guy thinks thinks about sex (every seven seconds or so).

The month is so depressing that schools typically give a break at the end of the month, almost like a reprieve for surviving three whole weeks of its existence. Spring Break gives us a little time to stop and smell the roses that in most areas haven't started blooming yet.

"What a shame when perfectly fit white boys
have to put minotaur hats on to feel good." 
To understand the Madness, you have to understand seasonal sports depression.  To those who don't like sports, the Super Bowl (2/2/2014) seemed like yesterday.  To a sports nut, the Super Bowl was decades ago, when you wore size 32 waisted jeans.  The Super Bowl was back when you were carded for alcohol.  The Super Bowl was those ole' glory days that you sit around a bar and tell Bruce Springsteen about.  The Super Bowl was soooo far back, that humans lived in harmony with elves, hobbits and minotaurs.

But hasn't there been college basketball for months? Didn't the new golf season start?  Didn't the NBA just have its All-Star game? Hasn't there been plenty of "sports" to keep you preoccupied?

Oh, please. That's like trying to appease a heroin addict with a Red Bull. We need our hit, like we need our top seed to hit their free throws.  So instead of judging that March Madness fanatic; treat them with respect by honoring what March Madness really means, because it means so much more than basketball:

*It means validation. Your sports fan doesn't just casually watch sports, he/she is invested. The March Madness College Basketball Fan, or MMCBF, has stats, visual evidence, and trends that support his/her picks. Remember that lifetime of learning commitment on your university's mission statement? This is it in action.

*It's not gambling, it's insider trading. You know how the rich get richer? They have knowledge about stocks that we don't have. March Madness isn't a slot machine, or a scratch ticket, or a luck of the's playing blackjack with Rainman.  How do I know that Wisconsin will lose in the second round? Simple, they always do (except for in 2012, 2011, 2008, 2005, 2003, and 2000 which were all anomalies). With this vast knowledge of numbers, trends and match-ups, not investing money would be the crime.

*It's unconditional loyalty, like picking your alma mater to advance one more game than you know in your heart they are likely to win. You're willing to destroy your bracket by picking an upset that less than 1% of the nation agrees with. And when it turns out? You're getting paid, son.

*It's feel good TV. Maybe you didn't see Butler get to the Final Four two years in a row. THE BUTLER BULLDOGS! Their entire enrollment is less than the value of my 13-year-old Honda Civic. And anyone who owns a 2001 Honda Civic knows how overvalued those little peasant go-carts are (even if they do run forever).  Who doesn't like a Cinderella story? And in this fairy tale version, Cinderella gets to send the evil step-sisters home crying.

Even Bill Walton's pseudo-
intellectual blathering doesn't demean
 his non-biased announcing.  He
hates UCLA...and he's a graduate! 
*We root like Communists. Those huge corporate step-sister schools that get trumped up by Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas...we want them all to lose. We don't care about their historic wins from the 1950s or how many players go on to the NBA. We're sick of the biased reffing, look-the-other-way announcing, and questionable recruiting practices.  Yeah, I'm talking about the Tarheels, Blue Devils, Jayhawks, Bruins,  and Wildcats. Nothing makes me happier than when a trumped-up #1 seed on name and talent alone loses to a team that plays like a TEAM, and not a group of guys angry that they had to go to college for one year to make the jump to the NBA.

*It's revenge towards annoying co-workers. The drudgery of work is only compounded by the fact that Lisa, the woman who knits during meetings, won the last NCAA tournament bracket.  Lisa is by far the luckiest person alive. She picked her teams by judging the stitch complexities of each mascot logo. Even though Lisa is the nicest person alive, you physically hate her for winning based on thread counts, when so much actual skill goes into picking an NCAA victor.

*We get to substantiate our cable television subscription. See, this is why I have the TruTV channel (not because I secretly like Impractical Jokers).  Now I get to watch an ENTIRE DAY of high intensity sports games. It also reinforces the necessity of my blood pressure medication.

So go ahead, and complain that its just another sports diversion, and we March Madness fans are shallow entertainment slobs. But I think it shows the empathy-filled, investment savvy, justifiably angry over injustice, value conscious, loyal, and well-informed, well-rounded fanatics we really are.

Of course, Julius Caesar was a well-rounded man who brought peace, prosperity, happiness, and unity to the people of Rome, and the Senate stabbed him in back for his ambition.

Don't be a Brutus. Enjoy March Madness.  


  1. I always wondered why Spring Break was a "thing" - thanks for the insight ;) While I'm not a sports fan (gasp!), I think of getting excited for sports "shows" as similar to people getting excited for their favorite show to come on (Walking Dead fans?). But then again, sports are different in that the "actors" are real people as opposed to people playing people (if that makes sense). Either way, I don't think anyone should fault people for being excited that their sports are "back."

    1. I never really thought about sports being somebody else's Glee or American Idol. More men should use that excuse.

  2. Being gay, I'm allergic to sports, but you had me at the shirtless minotaur.

    1. Hmmm. Maybe I should do a minotaur blog?

  3. I'm not much of a sports fan...but I do like my Buckeyes. (At least for football. Does OSU even play basketball?)

    1. The Buckeyes have a good team. A senior point guard with lots of grit. They should at least win one, if not two games in the dance.

      And they've been pretty good for the last decade. Came really close to greatness. Only a step below their football team.

  4. "The month is so depressing that schools typically give a break at the end of the month, almost like a reprieve for surviving three whole weeks of its existence." Is it Spring Break yet?! We are reading Caesar and my students want to celebrate the ides of March...I'm not quite sure how we're going to do that?! haha I'll think of something...

    1. Don't let them stab the teacher in the back. Not recommended.