March Madness. It is about basketball. But the two words taken together in a vacuum do not in and of themselves say anything about basketball. March is the third month of the year. The month in which spring arrives, there are few things more welcome than spring after a long, dark and cold winter. March is the beginning of spring training baseball. March will either come in like a lamb and leave like a lion or vice versa, so we have been told. Again the lion and lamb imagery is alluding to the fight between winter and spring, warm and cool. March happens to be when the NCAA men’s basketball tourney takes place. A single elimination march toward a national championship in basketball, with all the attendant joys and sorrows, highs and lows, which depends upon for whom you are cheering. Thus the word ‘madness.’ The madness comes in many forms. Madness can describe the delirious happiness that the fans of winning teams experience. The madness of upsets as lower seed teams, that appeared to have little chance of winning, some how some way pull of an upset, a classic ‘David’ and ‘Goliath’ tussle. The madness may mean the feeling of many business owners, because of the lost productivity of employees immersed in office pools and time watching the games. In essence if you are a basketball fan, march madness is that time when basketball overtakes life!
It seems that the tournament is rarely referred to as the NCAA Men’s basketball national championship.It is simply known as “March madness” a slogan someone came up with to describe the atmosphere and feelings that surround this national obsession. March is when the tournament takes place, madness is what it brings and indeed what it celebrates. We celebrate, team, winning, upsets, the idea that on any given day nearly any team can beat any other team regardless of records and strength of schedule. Like the Super bowl, March Madness is becoming a cultural phenomenon. For several hours over a three week period, college basketball is front and center in nearly every conversation. We are invited to get to know players, coaches and teams that just few short hours ago we had never heard of and now we are cheering for them as if we were our relatives.
Like all forms of madness it will pass and in a few hours and weeks we will be on to another interest or activity. What seemed like something we could not miss, in a few weeks, we are going to be hard pressed to remember much about the game itself. Five months from now only the most die-hard fan will be able to recall the final score of the championship game.
I am reminded of how quickly we get excited about things and how quickly we move on. This seems to be the human experience. We get excited realizing we cannot live at that level every day, so we back off and move on and look for the next exciting event. Nothing is wrong with basketball, excitement and leisure, I enjoy all three. The fact is life is not lived in the arena of happiness and joy and excitement all of the time. There are times that life is routine and the ordinary. Life is so everlastingly daily. If I want things to be different in my life, I must change some actions that make up my daily routine. We will not change by just thinking about it or planning on taking action sometime in the future. We change when we decide to begin making small even seemingly incremental changes in our habits and lives. What one small change could you start doing this week? Most of us desire to set big goals and rush into things such as “I am going to the gym everyday for three hours. You and I both know that that is an impossible goal. When we fail to live up to this goal, we become further discouraged and give up. How about going to the gym 2-3 times a week and start with some reasonable goals. Spend twenty minutes on the treadmill etc. Once you begin to incorporate small incremental changes into your routine, then you will feel good you and will add more time and other things to your routine. Setting big goals is great, but start small routines that will lead you over time to big results. Life is really not so much about March Madness as it is meaningful measurable movement in the right direction