The seasonal transformation of a March Madness fan

“Stick your hands up and block a ball, Bridges!”

“Dude, you’re a giraffe of a human being, and yet you still blow tipoff.”

“It’s as if nobody on this entire court has ever heard of a rebound before.”

These encouraging quips are just a few of the many kind remarks that we’ll likely scream at our television this month. This can only mean one thing: The tournament is upon us. It’s time to begin our annual transformation into an all-around basketball expert for the month of March. 

To be clear, we aren’t Phil Jackson by any means. If you close one eye, then the other, and imagine that we’re LeBron James, we’d still be far from anything that resembles an athlete. We couldn’t catch a ball if it were rolled to us at a slow velocity on the ground. The last time we were on a basketball court was three months ago to take a final in the RSF Field House.

Regardless, March Madness never fails to bring out the ESPN expert within us all. Our criticism of coaches is similar to last semester’s finals — endless and founded on confusion. We accost the players using our entirely nonexistent basketball knowledge as if we were last season’s MVP. Our critiques of teams’ passing schemes are both brutal and illogical. Don’t even get us started on our angst over lackluster free throw percentages. This isn’t baseball — a 0.500 average is nothing to be proud of. You don’t get paid to miss those shots — oh, wait. 

Another seasonal phenomenon that comes with the tournament is our random and extreme investment into teams we’ve never heard of before. We have no ties to Wichita State. We couldn’t tell you where Wichita is if our midterm grades depended on it. You could claim that the school is in Alaska and we’d have no convincible evidence not to believe you. Despite this complete and total ignorance, we passionately cheer for the team that could be on Mars for all we care. Our investment in the success of the Shockers (we had to Google that mascot just now) makes it seem as though every member of our extended family attended the school. The bracket challenge will drive people to do crazy things. 

We acknowledge that the foundation of our basketball knowledge may be lacking in some ways. Never mind the fact that school colors were the deciding factor for every 5 vs. 12 matchup when picking our bracket. We may not fully grasp the concept of an and-one, our confusion over fouls is seemingly endless, and our understanding of ref signals may be subpar. Despite these uncertainties, we know one thing for certain. Our bracket is going all the way this year. 

Contact Amanda Chung at [email protected].