March. In like a lion out like a lamb. So they say, at least. And with the ushering in of spring, there’s rebirth, new life.
Much the same can be said for the the NCAA Tournament that’s become synonymous with the month of March. The parallels are eerie. Every school likes its chances right now. From mighty Villanova to the Bucknell Bison, all harbor hope. All have life.
Whether we fully comprehend it or not, maybe this optimism comes from the melting snow, the sun’s radiance kissing a frozen landscape? Fresh shoots, young blooms. Ah, we rejoice in the rejuvenating nature of spring that [usually] accompanies Selection Sunday each year. So much promise.
In essence, a la March, within the confines of these brackets, everybody’s a lion, stalking prey. Kings of the jungle, soaking up the regal position on the sport’s ultimate pedestal. Eyes still firmly on the prize.
After all, the hearts and minds of the nation will be wrapped up in a frenzy of hoops action. Did you really go with all four No. 1 seeds? Gonzaga’s not really going to reach the Final Four, are they? You mean you picked WHO to the Elite Eight!!??!? Middle Tennessee State? These questions circulate within the walls of office buildings, locker rooms of country clubs and family dinner tables.
Go Big Blue Nation! Rock chalk Jayhawks! Live it up, Dukies! Cheers, Carolina! March Madness – there’s nothing like it in sports.
But alas, ‘nothing gold can stay’, right, Robert Frost? These lions are about to be dethroned. Remember, out like a lamb? And yessir, one-by-one, we’ll pluck a lion and add another lamb unwillingly to the herd. In this kingdom, there’s room for only one to roar come April.
ACC OUTLOOK – No. 1 UNC (Final Four) / No. 2 Duke (Elite Eight) / No. 2 Louisville (Final Four) / No. 3 FSU (Sweet Sixteen) / No. 5 Notre Dame (Rd. of 32) / No. 5 UVA (Sweet Sixteen)
For every school lucky enough to strap on its dancing shoes this time of year, the dream lives on. For most, it’s a fleeting mirage. For some, it’s a dreadful nightmare. But for a select few, it’s a captivating all-night odyssey. The goal? To make that dream a reality.
Sadly, for the vast majority, the ‘cutting down the nets’ scene never comes to pass. But that’s secondary. It’s the dream-maker who’s most appreciated. The fact that we are even inspired to dream at all is worth the price of admission.
So thank you, March, for allowing these rapturous thoughts of wonder to race through our minds that for the lucky few, transform into indelible, everlasting memories.
Follow me on Twitter @mattdoakes for sports reactions, physical therapy news and other snapshots of my life.