Commentary Its only human nature to love March Madness

It’s that time of year again. The time when brackets and buzzer-beaters grasp the nation’s attention. The time when things besides basketball get pushed aside for a few weeks. The time called March Madness. A wonder of a sporting event, 68 teams travel to different locales all across the country with the goal of bringing home college basketball’s top prize – the national championship. There is no holiday I enjoy more than those first two days of games (not the new first four play-in games, but the real stuff), the wall-to-wall basketball games from noon till midnight that always manage to amaze me. With the first weekend of games over with and the Sweet 16 fast-approaching, there have been some incredible moments so far in the tournament that remind us of why we tune in. And yet this year, as happens every year, we suffer through the pain that comes with the triumph. Whether it comes in the form of a busted bracket or watching your team fall in the quest for the championship, we subject ourselves to the pain every year without fail. Why? What is it about March Madness that makes us repeat these mistakes year after year? The answer lies not in the tournament itself but the idea that it represents, a notion that even the biggest of underdogs can become great. Each and every year, people cheer for a No. 16 seed to upset the No. 1 seed that it will inevitably lose to, as the No. 16 seeds have a 0-113 record against No. 1 seeds since the field expanded to 64 in 1985. We always get behind the Florida Gulf Coasts and George Masons of the world as they attempt their runs to the Final Four. While these ideals can be seen as foolish by some, it isn’t ignorance that pulls us toward these stories. It’s human nature. As humans, it is hard for us to accept that despite all of our good qualities, we have shortcomings that can hinder our climb to the top. We all want to believe that no matter what the circumstances, we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. In a nutshell, this is the magic of the NCAA Tournament. It gives us a real-life example of what motivates us to get out of bed and go to work or school in the morning, the payoff that can come from hard work and dedication. If a No. 11 seed can make a run to the Final Four, how could that promotion at work be unobtainable? We get so into picking brackets and watching each and every game because it reminds us of our childhood mentality that we can be whatever we put our minds to. It gives us an escape, a respite, from the realities that adulthood has forced upon us. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, turn on some college basketball and remind yourself that there is still a little magic in the world.

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