Enter, March. Possibly the most interesting month of the year. While that same argument can be made for all other 11 months, it’s called March Madness for a reason.
It’s almost poetic that such a crazed portion of sports can reflect an equaling appalling section in my life. North Penn HS notoriously ramps up the tempo of curriculum, as they should, in the third marking period, and March ends up squarely in the high of the storm. Oddly enough, Calculus lightened up significantly, perhaps because I enjoy creating three dimensional objects more than calculating the rate of water fills an ice cream cone (why would you even do that?).
March is special in many other ways as well. It marks the tip-off to March Madness, an event that captures the entire nation. But why?
In the US alone, 2018’s tournament, from first four to Final Four, drew in 97 million spectators on broadcast, according to an NCAA article. That’s around 30% of the nation’s population. In comparison, 2019’s Superbowl received 103 million viewers, which generally speaking is a much larger venue. Granted, the Superbowl occurs in one night, while the NCAA basketball tournament magic takes a few weeks to unfold.
Still the question remains: what attracts fans like me to these sporting events? Obviously the NBA and NFL display the highest levels of skill, and deservingly they receive the most amount of attention. Due to the NFL’s scarcity of matches, the collegiate football divisions receive mass viewership as well.
However, the NBA has 82 games. It also has talent incomparable to college, as well as greatly different play styles. Switching in between college basketball and the NBA is like eating two steaks: one undercooked and another perfectly medium. American football does not have this issue, as college always makes up for the lack of skill with more offense. So what attracts a person like me, who although enjoys basketball thoroughly, to a tournament in a league that I hardly follow?
To begin, one must tackle the reason of sports itself. A general idea for sports is a purpose for entertainment in otherwise monotonous lives of the working class. Providing excitement and pride for the individual, team sports can provide a sense of unity among people and a purpose to strive for, whether it is a championship or conference title.
Collegiate basketball elevates this purpose through 64 (or 68) different teams. By far the largest tournament in the US with respect to size and skill, the longing for winning a championship for a college in your area is a large motivator for viewers. Philadelphians might not care for collegiate basketball nearly as much if not for Villanova’s dominance in the previous few years. Looking at the distribution of good teams around the nation currently, there is a good spread of dominance from east to west, thus no matter where a family lives, there probably is a decent college team to cheer for. And while Villanova’s success cannot explain my liking of basketball, it sure does attract many casual fans to the sport.
Many other reasons are present. The general excitement from die-hard fans often magnetize less-caring fans. The constant buzz on all social media can annoy a person into caring. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of all is the fact that each round of the tournament is single elimination.
That means one loss and you’re out. While sounding normal, the NBA has implemented a 7-game series to give the better team the chance to move on. However, to sate the large bracket, single-elimination throughout causes many upsets. Thus, each game holds a certain amount of tension, a flicker of hope for both teams, no matter what the odds. On any given night, one team can go cold and the other can get hot. The result of a given night is 2018’s Virginia vs UMBC, an absolute stunner. Combined with the human error of seeding teams, upsets occur annually, and grow the popularity of the tournament.
So while you sit on the couch watching the game, ask yourself: is it an annoying family member constantly talking about the tournament or the same buzz on the phone about some kid named Zion Williamson who introduced you to the Big Dance? Perhaps it was the fun of watching a Cinderella story blossom into despair, watching Loyola-Chicago be crushed by a major school. Regardless of which reason, the Dance is here, and I’m going to enjoy it, just like millions of others around the world.
1）初二(7th Grade)《疯狂三月(March Madness)》2016-04-05
2）小学五年级(5th Grade)《疯狂三月(March Madness)》2014-03-24
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