It is the eve of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. I'm not going to call it a sports event. I guess outwardly, it literally is. But it's not at it's core, it's more
It's the chance. It's everything loved rolled into one event. 64 teams from all over the country come together for a chance to win it all. It has drama, villains, underdogs, and in the end provides great theater on many stages all over our country. Not many opportunities in real life where the very small, and the very big commune together for the exact same chance.
Remember the first time younger brother beat older brother in something in the backyard? Man, I do. I am the little brother. The family takes great joy in finally seeing the little guy break through. It's joy beyond belief for one, and heartbreak for the other, or in other words, real life. And it's memory burn for both. Or when you finally score higher than dad at bowling, or lower than him at golf. Those moments, though viciously bittersweet for each, in the end, and up the line are soul nourishing for all.
That is what this event truly embodies. The chance to see something we almost never see, the diminutive one being more than he really is. Defying odds, and the Gods attempting in some cases to do the impossible. We our helpless but to watch this ordeal, as that ideal is woven in our societal fabric as tightly as any one thing can be.
The NCAA breaks ratings and revenue records every year, so it's not just a bunch of dudes eating ribs watching endlessly in the basement for hours on end. Although that does happen. It captures all of us at one time or another, when Cinderella is trying to send Goliath home, and move on. Because it's one and done. You lose, and you exit, and we like that too. Even those who won't watch a single basketball game all year long will be glued when that drama presents itself.
That is what is the first weekend of this event is. Little guy/big guy. It's the chance. And this weekend is far more alluring than the ones to follow. This is when FGCU (real school), Bucknell, South Dakota State and Akron get a chance at real stardom. And when they are up 2 with 2 minutes to play, and "The Giant" is on the ropes, it's pure magic and the Zips are suddenly playing a home game - in Michigan. And luckily for us, it has nothing to do with sports, basketball, or a game.
It has everything to do with all we can ever ask for. The Chance.