It's the Madness, baby!

Or “How I learned to stop worrying and wonder what the fuck a saluki is.”

March Madness is hands-down my favourite sporting event of the year. 65 teams battling towards being named the national champion. Along the way are last second game-winning baskets made and missed, previously unknown players who capture the imagination of the audience and add a new name to the sports lexicon of the moment (e.g. Pittsnoggle), we learn that “Sweet 16” can mean something besides horrible teenagers on MTV making us fear for future generations, and tiny teams from “south east someplace or other” wear Cinderella’s slipper for a few unforgettable weeks.

Plus, we get to say “Saluki” repeatedly. Nothing really compares to that.

I feel bad for the girlfriends/wives who become Madness Widows for the entire month. I’ve tried to come up with something to compare it to that you ladies might understand. The best I’ve done is…

Imagine if you could spend every weekend for an entire month in a huge shoe store where everything was on sale, everything was your size, they served delicious magic ice cream that wasn’t fattening, and episodes of “Sex in the City” played in a constant loop on a plasma screen tv, while Mr. Big helped you try on said shoes. (And no men would use such gender stereotypes as those you saw in the previous sentence.)

I’d also like to point out just how educational and enlightening the Madness truly is. We see true examples of the resiliency of the human spirit. Teams down by a lot of points can turn things around and storm back. Injured players can get taped up and limp back onto the floor to perform feats of heroism.

And it’s not just the players that can show such spirit. Just yesterday a cheerleader — Kristi Yamaoka from SIU — showed amazing grit. After falling ten feet and landing on her head, and being strapped to a stretcher, she continued to do the arm movements of her team’s routine as they wheeled her off. I was actually watching this game – quel surprise! – and it was amazing to see.

It’s not just a few people watching the tournament. Studies indicated that employers in the US lost something along the lines of $3.5 billion in lost manhours last year due to the Madness. (I tried to find the link. Honest.) That’s more than hangovers and computer solitaire caused combined!

And since I like the idea of contributing to all that lost cash, I have set up a Yahoo Fantasy Sports Tournament Pick ‘Em game. To join this group go to, sign up an select “join a group.” Then you put in the Group ID# (13047) and the Password (madness) and you are good to go.

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