First seen on TV, I never stopped playing it out in gyms.
It continues as adult with mistake and waste paper bins.
“Time running out, Five, Four, three,” the countdown begins,
“Dribbles right, two, one, shot is up… for the win…!”
The madness stole my heart in the first New York minute,
Throwing away hundreds of brackets before I finally predict who will win it.
Love, more than watching for one winner, although that is the limit.
This tournament is truly special in the ways I find myself in it.
I see my life as the 10 seed, which is clearly not the highest.
The world won’t bet on David(son), but I only need belief to slay Goliath.
I sense the support of my tribe in the linked arms of players on the bench,
Willing their teammates’ best, in a unified nervous clench.
In the joyous faces and clever signs of the students, my youth and I are reacquainted.
And I remember a simpler time before my worldview was tainted.
I cry tears from all my defeats at the hands of another’s heater,
On the cheeks of those who lost on a last second buzzer beater.
I feel the pain of soul crushing disappointment for so many reasons,
In ACL of the senior, torn under the weight of carrying their season.
Sure, there are things to hate like the ref who is clearly a homer,
Or how the term Student-athletes is clearly a misnomer,
Or how a scholarship can come with a get out of jail free.
But a focus on the black eyes cannot dismiss the glory.
When hope is renewed like the first glint of the morning sun,
Watching the underdog make a deep tourney run.
When we all swipe right like we saw the same hot tinder fella,
As the 13 seed wins two and becomes everyone’s Cinderella.
When our bracket is busted or we have won thousands in bets,
We recognize the importance to celebrate triumph and cut down the nets.
When a victory lives forever like the moment a champion is crowned,
Or the school making history with just one win in the first round.
This tournament is for everyone from gym shorts to ascots,
Just don’t lose your shit when your bracket pool winner picked based on mascots.