March Madness doesn’t just captivate basketball fans

Published 8:56 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Madness.

It’s a real, scientifically proven medical condition that takes hold every year about this time, when millions of Americans become completely and totally obsessed with the NCAA basketball tournament.

With all due respect to the Super Bowl, college basketball’s national championship is the largest annual sporting spectacle on earth. We love it. We call it The Big Dance. And for three solid weeks, everyone is a fan.

Productivity at work screeches to a halt. Employees call in sick to stay home and watch the games. And those who don’t, might as well.

Hours are spent at work tracking games and following results online. Fans live and die with the results of each game, and the impact it has on their $10 office pool.

Most people have no earthly idea what or where Austin Peay University is, but for two hours in March, the Governors are likely to be their favorite basketball team on earth. And that lady in accounting — who has never watched three consecutive minutes of any sporting event in her life — runs around the office flaunting her basketball expertise because she has picked almost every game correctly, having predicted the winners based solely on the name of the schools’ mascots and whether or not the colors of their uniforms match her coloring.

I love every bit of March Madness; even that aggravating know-nothing in accounting that is sure to take my 10 bucks again.

And I think a big part of the reason I love it so much has to do with the time of year the tournament takes place.

By the end of February, I’m sick and tired of winter. I’m ready for the lousy weather to be over, and ready for the days of warm weather and sunshine and flip-flops and cookouts.

I’m ready to see David upset Goliath with a last second buzzer-beater. I’m ready to have something to cheer about. I’m ready for The Big Dance.

This winter has seemed really long to me, and I’m ready to bid it adieu. Spring’s right around the corner, and I can feel March madness starting to set in. This is the year I win back my 10 bucks from the lady in accounting.

Bring it on.

TONY CLARK is the general manager and advertising director at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at