March Madness is upon us

I never quite got the whole "March Madness thing."  Being on the periphery of sports-related fanaticism, it took me ages to understand the madness behind March. I'll explain from my mostly-uniformed perspective what this "phenomenon" truly is these days. For the "March Madness unaware," the world of college basketball whittles down the winners of great competing basketball teams who will finally meet in a championship of some sort one day in the near future. To me, it seems like the distant future. This scheme is depicted in a bracket graphic where the competing teams are shown from what looks like hundreds to suddenly 8 to the final four and then obviously two teams meet to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association's big trophy. It seems like it takes forever.

As one can tell, I'm just not that into March Madness.

To me, March is all about saying goodbye to winter, dealing with Daylight Saving Time, full moons, a Friday the 13th, Saint Patrick's Day, spring cleaning and  gearing up for spring break. March Madness is not on my radar. In all honesty, March Madness just seems to be something that distracts way too many people when there are so many other important things going on like eating, sleeping and watching "Charles in Charge" reruns. Just jesting on that last one, but seriously, this March Madness is quite consuming.

On any given evening, I completely forget that some of my favorite restaurant spots double up as quasi-sports bars. Thus, it can take several minutes to finally get seated at some of these places due to more patrons in the establishment grazing at the tables viewing March Madness games while indulging in their favorite adult beverages. Hats off to the March Madness fans, but I'm quite hungry and I would like to get my quesadillas sometime this year. I jest. It is a free world and these college basketball fans have every right to enjoy themselves.

It always sounds like the usual suspects are in these tournaments. Villanova, Notre Dame,  Louisville, Wake Forest and UCLA seem to make news. I confess that I wasn't aware of some of those schools until recent years. It warms my heart when a Georgia or Ohio team gets some "March Madness notice." I spent a lot of time in both states so it's great when a team like Cleveland State gets some national press. Still, those "little teams that could" rarely seem to get to the final tournament. It's typically UNC or Connecticut who take top prize.

Just like professional sports, the college version is big business. I cannot imagine how much money these events must generate in ticket sales, merchandise and total revenues. Speaking of money, it was recently reported that March Madness is the culprit for companies losing a lot of cash, like $2 billion! That estimate comes courtesy of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. Apparently employees invest time in "working on their brackets" to reading all about March Madness to streaming events. Aside from employees getting into March Madness, it seems like the president spends some time on his brackets as has been shown on cable sports network ESPN in recent years.

I don't scoff at college sports fans. Admittedly, I occasionally enjoy viewing professional or even college sports. Certainly most of the March Madness fans could barely understand why I like viewing the Tour de France during most summers.

I don't knock the folks who get into March Madness - even the president. I just don't get the hype.


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