Volume 95, Issue 84

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
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Western women taste the ultimate CIS success

Breaking down the bracket

Mayhem and madness - it must be March

Mayhem and madness - it must be March

For whom the bell tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

The "Top Gun" roller-coaster at Canada's Wonderland in Toronto is a mind-bending thrill ride, but it pales in comparison to the Madness of March.

The bracket for the NCAA's annual basketball tournament is complete. All that's left is for the Madness to ensue – 65 teams vying for the elusive crown.

Why is March Madness the greatest sporting event the world has ever known?

The possibilities are endless.

Christian Laettner's fade-away jumper from the top of the key to oust the Kentucky Wildcats from the "Big Dance."

"The shot" – named for Michael Jordan's championship winning shot in his freshman season.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, a squad of blue-collar boys, consistently playing the role of giant-killer, while receiving absolutely no respect from the seeding committee (Beware Arizona).

The list goes on and on, yet one thing remains – March Madness has thrills, chills, tears, sweat, unbridled joy, heart and most importantly, the element of surprise. It's the one sporting event where no one is safe.

March Madness hasn't been corrupted by guaranteed contracts and the "bling-bling" athletes with their Benz and Rolex. It hasn't succumbed to a dilution of the fan base, specifically business big wigs filling the front row while the true fan rots away with their nose bleed and squinting eyes.

The "Big Dance" is a showcase of young men playing for the love of the game – where heart is a prerequisite and nothing is left on the floor. University communities come together in raucous emotion to cheer on the heroes of the hardwood.

The Madness also creates the opportunity for heated rivalry with fellow fans and friends alike – especially when money is on the line. Filling out the bracket is like writing your will. Consequently, my best advice for pool starters – make sure the bracket is filled out in ink, not pencil.

The aforementioned list of endless possibilities sums up the reasons I will not leave my couch for the next three weekends. Pizza Pizza will be on speed dial, the Beer Store will think I'm an alcoholic and the social life I don't have now will dive further into the depths of despair.

However, while for many March Madness will be a blip on the radar, I will experience the benefits of being an addicted sports fan. I will watch buzzer-beating shots, giant upsets and the epitome of emotion.

I will, if only for a moment, imagine what it would be like to be a hero.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002