March Sadness

When the brackets came out for March Madness it looked like there was a very good chance for an all ACC final four. I filled out a bracket for our church charity and had Duke, UNC, Virginia and Florida State in the final four. Well my bracket is busted because only Virginia has made it into the final. Despite UNC, and Duke also being ranked number one in their regions they were taken down by lower ranking teams. I foolishly discounted number one Gonzaga just because they were not in the ACC.

I watched many hours of basketball in the last few weeks and the one thing I feel never gets enough discussion from commentators is that these players are kids. Yes, most look like grown men and have been trained to be eloquent speakers in media training 101, but they are still college students.

The brains of young men are still developing well into their 25th year. The pressure and hype of these games has got to get to them. And remember these are games. The players are not robots. Just because they have been an 81% free throw shooter during the regular season in no way guarantees they are going to make one particularly important game deciding shot for all the marbles.

The thing about March Madness is 67 teams are going to be disappointed and only one will not. That also means that 67 team’s fans, families, schools, coaches and anyone who bet on them are also going to be experience the losses. Perhaps we should rename March Madness to March Sadness.

The only bright spot is that as humans we learn more from our losses than wins, if you decide to examine yourself. Maybe March could be considered personal growth month for basketball players and not the month they didn’t win the big dance.

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