In this season of March Madness and college basketball general freakout I am coming out. I hate the NCAA Tournament.
I am aware this is near sacrilege being that I attended the University of Virginia and now live in the nirvana of ACC Basketball territory: Chapel Hill. But every year otherwise fiscally responsible and mature men turn in to couch loving, money-throwing boys. Over what? Forty minutes of a game where men wear clown-like shorts and flail their arms around.
Ok, so that was a little harsh. I understand that basketball is more nuanced than that. I can appreciate that the game requires skill.
But must there be so much of it on? Because there wasn’t enough college basketball to be had last year (in addition to the 29 games each team plays per season, the 31 games in the NIT not-for-champions-championship contest, and the 14 games in the ACC only-for-us championship contest) we had to add more teams to the NCAA tournament this year so we could have…MORE GAMES! Sixty-eight teams. I can’t even do the math on how many games that ends up being.
I heard a rumor that the number of vasectomies goes through the roof in March. The word is that men want to schedule the Big V during the NCAA tournament so they can sit on the couch all day, watch basketball, and recover. Fact or fiction?
Of course, even though this tournament is totally testosterone driven (note: testosterone driven doesn’t mean that many smart women don’t enjoy the tourney just as much as smart men…but it seems to mostly attract men) and men won’t use the word “outfit,” the tournament playoffs have ridiculous cutesy names. “Sweet Sixteen,” “Elite Eight,” “Final Four,” and now the “First Four.” The PR team that branded March Madness should all be living the high life on their yachts off of St Bart’s. They earned their paychecks.
Then there is the betting…we put out a LOT of money on these brackets. The odds of getting a perfect bracket are 1 in 128 billion. The odds of winning the lottery hover around 1 in 175 million. We recognize that paying for lottery tickets is throwing our money away. Yet we stll pick up our Sharpies and highlighters, roll up our shirt sleeves, and do research on our brackets. We pay money to do research on our brackets. We complain about how high we are taxed, how much prescriptions cost, skyrocketing gas prices, yet Americans will spend around $3.5 billion dollars on bracket tournaments this year. Imagine!
This is just bracket play costs alone. This does not include the money spent on buying tickets to the hundreds of games. The games play in huge arenas and tickets can be up over $500 for one ticket. Someone, somewhere, is getting rich off all the basketball watching and it is not the American public or the players.
And for what? What is the point of the NCAA Tournament? It isn’t as though arbitrarily pitting teams selected from some random assignation of numbers against each other on different days is really helping us get the BEST college basketball team in the country. Major news organizations report every year that the selections process is fraught with issues (incidentally, given the very cutesy name of “Selection Sunday”) and fans all over the country get outraged over someone’s inclusion/exclusion, a seed, a home court advantage….there is always some inequity or gross injustice made in Selection Sunday happenings.
My brother calls basketball the “perfect game” to watch. He went to Duke so maybe some of the Cameron Crazy fever rubbed off, but I know there are plenty of people out there who adore this sport.
I personally can’t hack having basketball on my TV. My biggest issue is all the squeaking. It’s the shoes on the court floor. Listen next time. “Squeak squeak squeak.” It is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Then the players have to wipe off the bottom of their shoes so that they squeak more! What is that!?
But maybe I could appreciate college basketball and learn to love it if it didn’t come on too strong, like a desperate girlfriend, every March. “Do you love me yet? Now!??! How about I add 4 more teams? How about I put more games on TV? How about I take away your beloved reruns so that I can be on 4 stations at ONE TIME?! Do you love me NOW?”
But right now, at this moment, I just don’t get it.
To all my friends (and my husband) who are romantically involved with this demanding sports tournament, please don’t hate me. I simply don’t get it and I would love to have less of it on my TV. After all, I don’t make you go to the ballet and Indigo Girls concerts….
Thanks to the hosts of Finish the Sentence Friday for encouraging me to get this out…
Co-host Katia of IAMTHEMILK