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Commentary: Why we like March Madness so much each year

Commentary: Why we like March Madness so much each year
April 12
04:00 2018

There is nothing quite like March Madness. It is over now and if you are like me, next season can’t come soon enough.

Some of you may like the Super Bowl and some of you may favor The NBA Finals. For me, bring on March Madness. Why? Because any of the 68 teams have a chance to win it if they go on a run.

The beauty of the post basketball season called March Madness is there is such a build up to it. Networks like ESPN and CBS start their promotions a little after the Christmas holiday season. ESPN has both a beginning of the season broadcast and a championship week broadcast. The early events they sponsor are midnight madness and continuous early season basketball games, which go on literally for 24 hours. This kicks off the season.

CBS negotiated a big contract with the NCAA and for a long time had exclusive rights to all NCAA [Men’s Division I Basketball] Tournament games. Now, the games are televised on cable networks as well. Still, CBS has managed to keep the Selection Sunday Show. Now if you are a basketball fan, you are glued to your television set at 6 p.m. Eastern time. The Selection Sunday Show is almost like watching a soap opera because you are not sure about the outcome. You see, you are uncertain about which 68 men’s teams will make the field and be a part of March Madness.

If you get in, there is instant joy and jubilation and if your team is not called, then you are simply sick. This is a sickness that drugstore-bought medicine won’t cure.

Take what happened this year. Virginia was a Number 1 seed and they lost to upstart UMBC. You are saying, what is a UMBC? UMBC is the University of Maryland Baltimore County located in Catonsville, Maryland. They barely got into the field. This is a good example of David putting a whipping on Goliath. That’s what happens in this tournament.

High seeded teams like North Carolina, Gonzaga, Cincinnati and Michigan State all lost and went home. As we know, the Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the finals. In fact, Villanova took Michigan to the woodshed as they won by a score of 79-62.

Each year the tournament has a Cinderella (a team that defies the odds and advances) and this year’s team was Loyola University in Chicago. Just to show you how far they have come, they were playing a home game with just a little over 200 people in attendance a few months ago.

Loyola University, a Catholic school in Chicago, Illinois, made it to this year’s Final Four. Were you rooting for Loyola University like I was? Look, that team had me hooked! Sister Jean, the team’s chaplain, had me sold from the first time she opened her mouth. How can you root against a nun? You can’t. I went to a Catholic elementary school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (St. Benedict The Moor), and a Catholic graduate school, so I was all in for the Loyola University Ramblers.

By the way, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt was born Aug. 21, 1919 and has been a nun for 81 years. Along the way, she has been a teacher, principal and coach. March Madness! You have to love it.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at ewers.jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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