I’ve never been a sports fan. Sure, the Olympics are awesome and every two years I block out two weeks to do nothing but watch the games, but college and professional sports in the United States have never really interested me. My roommates are also not big sports fans. Between all six of us we have pretty good soccer, field hockey, swimming and volleyball skills, but that’s generally all the passion we’ve ever expressed about sports. But this March, something has happened. This March, we’ve gone head first off the highest of high dives into the deepest water possible for a group of previous non-sports fans. This March, we’ve gone mad.
The beginning of March is when we filled out our brackets. Most were filled out by guessing or by picking favorite colors or the better mascot, but we generally had no knowledge. But boy, you would have thought we had actual knowledge of what team can take what team. We’re comparing brackets, getting mad when the teams we had going all the way lose as if we knew they could actually win it all to begin with (RIP Duke and UCLA). I’m even responsible for scoring the brackets after each round and boy am I mad I’m losing.
I’m not sure if this is normal to do during March Madness but I figured betting would be a fun way to stay involved in the games, even if your team loses. The rules are that you have to bet somewhere between a single penny and 25 cents. You have to mark your bets before the games start and whoever wins at the end splits the total bet based on the percentage their bet was of the total winning bets. It’s a little confusing and you’d think people wouldn’t care about winning change pulled out of that cup holder in your car. I’ve created spreadsheets in Excel with equations to determine how much each person won per game and per round and how much they’ve lost based on the total bet. There have even been joyous celebrations when one person wins it all for a game and sadness when you bet 50 cents between two games and lose it all (this was me on Sunday).
Whenever a game has been on, our TV has been on. Keep in mind that our house is a group that never has the TV on unless we’re watching a movie. You’d think we’ve been college basketball fans our whole lives. Screams about our team not rebounding or bad passes are often common during these games. We yell at the referees as if they could hear us, as if we knew what we were actually talking about. We apply our limited knowledge and experience in sports to relate to these athletes. We celebrate when players hit 3’s and foul shots. We talk about defense and offense and what the players should be doing. Honestly I think I could coach college basketball at this point (please, no one let me do this).
I can honestly say I have not felt this excited about college sports. The only sport you could ever find me emotionally invested in previously was swimming. I still think about Michael Phelps swimming in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I cried this past summer when he swam his last event. But this March, I’ve changed. This March, I’m a sports fan. Who knew?