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COLUMN: March Fever

Put the Team on my Back

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 13:03


Online and non-physician diagnoses can sometimes be a little misleading. I once had a chest rash I checked out with WebMD before going to the doctor. The verdict: AIDS. Try explaining to your dad how you contracted that one at age 14. It ended up being just a bacterial infection.

But for the following case study, I believe I and thousands of Americans like me, have been positively tested for disease. Though crippling at times, it comes from extended periods of jubilation spent on a couch during one month of the year. Yes, March Madness fever is real. And for those who have it, it’s now peak season.

There are many reasons March is the best month of the year. The death grip of winter loosens its hold and the snow starts to melt away, giving hope. Spring break, shorts, my birthday coupled with John Stockton’s: All are great things, but none are better than the best weeks of the entire sports calendar all crammed into one month.

So how can you test yourself for addiction? First, check for the following symptoms. Do you watch YouTube clips the entire year, thinking how much one shot changed the world? Do you incessantly draw out brackets for meaningless activities, then challenge others to fill one out? Do buzzer-beaters and upsets make you chest bump your closest neighbor? You’re inching toward disease.

Next, name check recognition. When I say 16, do you say “sweet”? Who does a 5-seed match with? Can you say Krzyzewski? Do you want to be saying Krzyzewski at the end of the month? What’s a Cinderella? Can you put a Tar Heel, Jayhawk, and Hoosier in their respective locations?

Is your first thought for Gordon Hayward a half-court shot to win the championship? If it’s his being your favorite player on the Jazz instead, you’re definitely a woman from Utah who probably bases her tourney selections off of each team’s mascot. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: Your bracket probably beats mine.

Speaking of brackets, will you be able to name the 68 teams in the field this year but can’t remember the first law of thermodynamics? Will you study your selections more than for your accounting midterm? Luckily, grades aren’t given out for pick percentages.

If you’ve passed all of the above, you can make your diagnosis official. And congratulations! It’s a badge of honor. March Madness is everything that’s right about America: underdogs, passion, last-second miracles, unity in the classroom since everyone is watching instead of working — the list continues. The constant action of the NCAA tournament jam-packed into one month is an unbeatable phenomenon for any sports crazed junkie.

You can only imagine me dreaming all this while filling out my bracket in Mexico for the past two years. With all of the parity in the league right now, this year should be especially incredible, starting with conference tournament week. My fever’s getting pretty hot.




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