March Madness and Gladness

In my opinion, the first weekend of the NCAA (college, for everyone outside of the US) Men's Basketball Tournament, is one of the most anticipated events in sports. Everybody makes (or wastes) time, filling out brackets in their office, trying to pick the big upsets, and trying to ultimately pick the best 4, then ultimately, the best 1 team out of a field of 65.

I fill out a bracket every year just for fun. (I'm not a gambling man). Believe it or not, this is the year that I actually filled out more than one bracket (as a Maryland alum, I feel obligated to pick the Terps to win the whole tournament in one bracket). I filled out 3 overall. But, I do have a "sheet of integrity" (see Mike and Mike in the Morning) that I look over as far as what my real picks are. Here's how my "sheet of integrity" for this tournament looks like...

I had to pick Kansas to win the whole thing... They look like such a strong and experienced team, with great leadership, and if they survive that treacherous region they're playing in, they will surely be tested and win the whole thing. As far as upsets are concerned, I picked a few in the first round, but I don't have any notable ones that are going deep. The lowest-seed I have going the furthest would have to be the Richmond Spiders (seeded #7) going to the sweet-16. But other than that, everything is pretty much "chalk" and I have 3 out of the 4 number 1 seeds going to the Final 4.

But believe it or not, the NCAA tournament doesn't only have to serve as a time to be non-productive around the office and waste a lot of your money gambling, but it can be looked at as something that's good for society...

A lot of people join NCAA tournament pools, whether be at work, school, some kind of internet community, or where ever. And by doing so, it brings a community together, and it gets people talking to each other and it gets them engaged. I'm all for engagement, and one way to bring a lot of people together is to get people together is to gather them all during a special event and throw some kind of gathering. The NCAA tournament can provide that kind of setting (although, with work and school, it may be a little tough to do that).

But, believe it or not, it also establishes camaraderie. People love to cheer and support their school or their team, and it will definitely get people to rally around each other when they have common interests. If your school didn't happen to make it to the "dance", you can cheer for other schools that you might have somewhat of a vested interest in and rally around them. Or, you can rally around the underdog (which is always fun to do). But conversely, this is also a time where you can rally against your rival schools/communities, and you can civilly talk smack with them.

So, with that being said, March Madness doesn't have to be a time to be unproductive and lose a lot of money (if you do that sort of thing). It can be great, as it really brings communities together, especially on campuses (even moreso if your team is in the "dance"). Speaking of which, most schools are on Spring Break this, so following and enjoying the big dance with some friends doesn't have to take away from being "productive".

In closing, I just want to say... "Fear the Turtle... GO TERPS!"

D4P... PD!!!

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