The next four days are the absolute best days of the year if you are a sports fan. If the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports (and it is), then the next four days are the most exciting 84 hours.
The first thing that makes it so exciting is the collective buzz that it creates. Almost everyone is involved in a bracket pool. It is estimated that 60 Million people will fill out brackets this year, including the President of the United States. That means over half of the people that you know that are of age have probably filled out a bracket. This means that they have taken the time to pick a winner and therefore have become psychologically attached to 32 of the teams that are playing. No time is that attachment greater than the first weekend. This creates an atmosphere of involvement that is greater than any other sporting event.
The second thing that is so great is the one and done nature of the games. With teams’ entire seasons dependent upon the tournament, the emotions run high not only with the players and coaches, but also with the fans. It is the true testament of how the team compares to other teams. Expectations can either be realized or they can be destroyed. One poor game can completely turn a season upside down for one team.
Lastly, and this is the most important, is the rise of the Cinderella team. America loves an underdog. We rally behind the small schools like Butler, VCU and George Mason as if our life depends on it. We lose our minds when Bryce Drew hits a three pointer and the buzzer and canonize coaches like Jim Valvano for beating Goliath at the buzzer.
My suggestion for the next few days is to fill out a bracket, find a good sports bar or place to watch the game with a crowd, and enjoy the ride. There is nothing else like it.