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March Madness: A Time For Group Hugs, Dejection, and Emotional Outbursts

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 14:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Chris Allen #3 (L) and Raymar Morgan #2 during a timeout against the Ohio State Buckeyes during their semifinal game of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 14, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
S. SinghContributor IMarch 22, 2009

March Madness is a time for group hugs, feelings of dejection, failure, and emotional outbursts—at least for those who dared to enter an office pool or friendly bout of basketball brackets.

As a transplanted Canadian, I never imagined I would take to a phenomena such as March Madness basketball. 

To back up a little bit, until I came here, I never had a team to support in NCAA college sports.  The  importance was subsequently lost upon me. 

Over time, pride in my school and the excitement of my fellow students rubbed off on me in a variety of college sports. Only during this time of  year, march madness sanctioned procrastination is an acceptable activity.  

NCAA sports soon found itself in my psyche—specifically basketball.

I don't know when it happened, but slowly I found myself drawn into the whole bracket craziness that epitomizes this contest. 

Everyone who enjoys this time of year can understand my excitement in waiting for the brackets to be announced.  All thoughts of marking my students papers, doing my research and own course work were suspended once the brackets were announced. 

I had to conserve my mental steroids, alertness, and brain power for crafting a winning bracket.  Much time was spent in the careful analysis and preparation in creating the bracket that was going to take me to office NCAA pool greatness.

After submitting my bracket, the feeling of self doubt as other peoples brackets began to trickle in.  Subsequent helplessness soon began to set in as the games began. 

One thing is for sure, most people in the office have atleast one or two tabs on their internet dedicated to either the games being screened and up-to-the-second scores. 

I have experienced extreme high and low emotional outbursts—in the span of 10 minutes I thought I was having a heart attack.  Picture this, a 2-seeded Memphis team tied with 9 minutes left in the game to a 15th seeded team. Needless to say, everyone in the office heard my cries of disbelief.

What makes this tournament one of the most exciting is the fact that anything can happen.  It doesn't matter what rank a team has, how much hype another team gets, ANYTHING can happen. 

There are no best of series, no double knock-outs. After 40 minutes you either go home or live to see another game.  

For those whose brackets were destroyed so early on, a tender hug and kind words of understanding were in order.  As for those who experienced a double overtime loss, no words or actions can express the emotion. 

After all the madness ends, a winner is crowned and the realization that my bracket entry fee was just a donation begins to manifest. I am sure the feeling of dejection will set in.  Anger will surface at how my efforts and emotional support wasn't enough to ensure all my teams behaved as I preordained them too. 

I will curse the various teams that did not play well despite wearing my lucky socks and carefully arranging my various lucky trolls & charms on my desk. I will also question the existence of God or any higher being.

But alas, regardless of what happens this year.  I know exactly what I will be doing this time next year. 

Best of luck fellow readers on your various pools—there can only be one winner in each of the pools and as for my office one—based on recent events thus far—it sure isn't going to be me.

I should have invested in a Tim Hortons coffee donut combo.  At least the suffering and feelings of caloric doubt would have only lasted one day instead of two weeks.

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