March is here. Saint Patrick's Day is done and the first day of Spring is tomorrow. But I live in Indiana so the only thing that matters is basketball. Now, if you have heard folks say that everyone in Indiana eats and breathes basketball, then I am headed to the coroner's. Other than a little 'pig' or 'horse' basketball games in my backyard, or cheering on the grandsons at their games, I am pretty much ignorant to the NCAA hoop-la. I know. Hoosier Hysteria heresy. So why, you may ask, am I writing a blog about something I know little about? Think about that for a second. Yeah. Knew it would come to you: this is pretty much how I roll. 'Ongoing Stories of My Soul' is a blog written by a 4 foot ten lady who thinks she has something to say about most everything. Doesn't mean it is wisdom writing. Look at it like this...I am a combination of Wikipedia on crack, mothers' wit, and an old school teacher who tells every stranger her life story. See? And you take a moment to listen/read. God love ya. Back to basketball. Referring to my height, I think of that old rap tune, "If I were a little taller, I would be a baller..."
March madness is a time for crazy fun. My oldest son has been getting together with his buddies to watch the games. I think it has been about twenty years.. For most of those gatherings they have been at the house of one (brave) guy. And someplace along the line, probably if I wanted to see my son, I showed up at the party with an NCAA cake. That was years ago. Now The Cake is expected. This is an ordinary chocolate cake with various b-ball related junk plunked down in the icing. I am no cake decorator. Nope. But the guys love it, and I love doing it. I stop by, meet and greet, and leave this pitiful pastry that they probably don't eat. I would not miss it for the world.
Recently, at the middle school where I teach, the staff put the kids on the bus and met to fill out their bracket sheets. There was fun, food, and speculation on who would win. But there was so much more. It was a much-need stress reliever for educators who have had to maneuver through standardized testing, parent conferences, report cards, and the daily grind of dealing with 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Those silly brackets put a new and fresh spin on another wearing school day. But that's not all. These same great teachers used the Final Four as lessons involving math calculations, probability, diagramming, and brought a new learning objective to that reluctant student: a lesson with meaning and a touch of fun. Oh my! When that kid said to me, "I can't wait for Tuesday---the brackets begin!" he eagerly set out to finish his homework related to this event. Game on.
When it comes to March, a little bit of madness keeps us sane. The presidential campaigns are lunacy and tax day is less than a month away. Spring breaks are upon us and parents are figuring out how to keep their jobs and kids happy, in tandem. Oh, did I mention that those campaigns and debates keep the bile rising into our throats? Give us basketball, baseball, even curling-- if it takes our mind off that political debacle.
We've come a long way since Naismith nailed a peach basket to the barn and threw a ball in it. I bet he is proud. And surprised. High schools, colleges, even pick-up games in the alley create the balance we need to a stressful existence. Big business? Oh yeah. I mean, we have the Pacers, the NCAA Headquarters and games in my hometown. The movie, 'Hoosiers' was based on the Milan team that had an unbelievable victory during Indiana high school basketball tourney time. You mention IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, and you have to be talking about Indy. That Ferrell kid from IU has done pretty well. Our local newspaper had a sweet photo of him after the IU victory. I cut it out of the paper to take to his little sister (she attends my school). Just a cute picture of her big brother who happens to play basketball. In Indiana. At IU. In March. And wins.
I would love to go on and impress you even more with my March Madness Memories. But I will close with this observation. As cheesy as it sounds, those brackets fasten us to some great traditions, and many have little to do with winning a game. Face it....the March Madness keeps us a little bit sane. It is a good diversion to our layered days; a time for friends to reconnect, employees to choose teams while they become a closer team, themselves. A game where colleges are show-cased and the buzzer makes or breaks victories. It is basketball; pure and simple fun.
And to think that I am a wee bit part of it. All I have to do is bring the cake.