So tomorrow begins probably the best couple weeks in all of sports for my money. The Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament gets underway at Noon and finally all of the bracket obsession, Cinderella hype and bubble bursting bullshit can commence. You see I usually love filling out my bracket, bantering back and forth with fellow fans and getting caught up in every single match up of the tournament. But not this year.
I don’t know, maybe this whole March Madness has jumped the shark or maybe I’m just a jaded hoops fan, but my enthusiasm is down considerably from previous years. I’ve said that I’m still emotionally drained from the six overtime Syracuse-Uconn torture-fest, but I think it relates to something much larger. In her last column, ESPN Ombudsman Lee Ann Schreiber sums it up better than I ever could. Basically, the over saturation of sports media and non-stop coverage of major events like the NCAA Tourney has had an adverse affect on fans and does more harm than good, in my case making me care less. Sure, I want Uconn to win and do well, but unlike last year or in 2006, my world won’t be crushed if they get upset in the Sweet 16. Sure, I filled out a bracket for fun but no more than 15 minutes was spent agonizing over which high seed will be my upset sleeper. Maybe I’m just maturing as a sports fan, maybe I’m just Ben Button.
So, while I look forward to the Madness every year, no longer do I need to plan my life around the games. It’s a great time for small schools who make it in and for power schools looking to win a championship. I’m sure the media will beat stories to death over the next few weeks and over analyze every possible angle of every game and that a shame. While the tournament is wildly popular for office pools, alumns and casual sports fans, I think everyone just needs to take the foot off the throttle a little this year. There’s no Steph Curry in 2009. Lousiville isn’t the best team in the country. No one knows shit about filling out a bracket. Just sit back, grab a drink with some friends and let the “One Shining Moment” happen to those on the court. Go Huskies.