As I watched the NCAA Tournament and the stunning upsets of college basketball powers this past weekend, all sorts of emotions bubbled up within me.
The first four days of the tournament brought joy, hope and excitement in the anticipation of what comes next.
Joy, because my favorite college team — Arkansas — brought down the bluest of bluebloods in No. 1 seed Kansas on Saturday and advanced into the Sweet 16.
Hope, because the tournament provides just that for all the have-nots of the college basketball world. Fairleigh Dickinson’s takedown of Big 10 power and No. 1 seed Purdue showed how much reality there is in that hope. It is real.
Anticipation, because there’s even more drama to play out in real time over the next two weeks.
And then there was something we all needed. Diversion.
OK, it’s not an emotion, but diversion is important because there’s a lot of disturbing events like war, economic upheaval and political turmoil that greet us daily. The NCAA Tournament provides much a needed respite.
So, that brings me to the point of this blog post. Hello, Spring!
The NCAA Tournament — and all of sports — make this the most wonderful time of the year.
For instance, when the NCAA Tournament crowns a champion the first week in April, Major League Baseball will be celebrating Opening Day in parks around the country.
And the OKC Dodgers open their season on March 31. The NBA playoffs begin in mid-April — hopefully with the OKC Thunder as a play-in qualifier. The Masters. The NFL Draft. The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May. There is the women’s NCAA Tournament along with college softball and baseball. And hockey playoffs, as well.
It’s been a long, cold lonely winter for many people, so the sports calendar tells us “here comes the sun” in both a literal and figurative sense.
Sort of like the renewal of life that Spring itself brings, we find joy and hope, anticipation and welcome diversion in the Spring sports calendar.
Thanks to the NCAA Tournament for kicking it all off with an incredible level of excitement.
I’ll celebrate it just like this every Spring.