Opinion: Homage to March

Lucas Misera

Lucas Misera

Hampton, Dayton, Stephen F. Austin. Buzzer-beaters, alley-oops, Cinderella stories and heartbreak. Early on in its madness, March has brought along enough college hoops to encourage viewers to stay on their couch for the entirety of the month. But it’s also kept fans on the edge of their seats to make sure that armchair-coaches don’t get too comfortable. Although I anxiously await the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournaments that have become synonymous with March each year, this year, it’s particularly welcomed.

Frankly, talk of the election has become exhausting. Violence breaking out at Trump rallies, watching Bernie Sanders vociferously decry inequality and hearing pundits debate whether or not Hillary Clinton can easily defeat her GOP counterparts has become redundant. Whether tuning into CNN, Fox News or any other major news outlet, the topics of discussion have become painfully predictable.

Enter March. Suddenly, my attention has turned to a different story of toughness, inequality and run-away favorites. This year, just as each previous basketball season has, March will tell tales of the little guys sneaking into the NCAA Tournament to slay the giants of college basketball.

In the 2013 tournament, Florida Gulf Coast University captivated households across the United States with high-flying dunks and wins against classic powerhouses of college basketball. Last year, Georgia State University touched hearts with the father-son story of R.J. and Ron Hunter. Perhaps this year will bring the fall of a top seed in the first round or a dramatic Elite-Eight run from Monmouth University or the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The beauty of March is that not one analyst or die-hard fan can give you a confident prediction concerning the rest of the month.

For those who have watched thus far, it is clear why March Madness is such a thrilling time. Fans have seen Stony Brook University punch its first ticket to “The Dance” via a 43-point performance, hopes crushed in the last seconds of a game, and March regulars, the University of Kansas and North Carolina University, dominate.

The beauty of college basketball is that, with over 300 Division I programs, a new story arrives each year. A simple game evokes passion and unforgettable moments that emphasize the beauty and pageantry of college athletics. Watching a senior playing in potentially his last game lead his team to victory is inspiring. Listening to ESPN’s sportscaster Brent Musburger’s disbelief as favorites for the title collapse brings forth chills. Goosebumps rise as the toughest players in the sport are reduced to tears after hard-fought wins or gut-wrenching losses.

Even if you remotely follow basketball, March Madness is a recommended experience. It doesn’t take an understanding of zone defenses or specific one-on-one matchups to appreciate competition. Whether or not you’re an avid fan, watching a senior player walk off of a court for the last time or a player sink a 60-foot shot that brings 15,000 fans to their feet will entertain you. If nothing else, it’ll make you forget for a moment that Donald Trump might actually be our next president.

Happy March, everybody. It’ll be a good one. 

Lucas Misera is a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]