March Madness: A primer

A women's guide on surviving basketball season.
illustration by Mark Weber

 

It’s coming, and it won’t be long. Soon most of North Carolina will be consumed with the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, as it’s more commonly known.

What does that mean for you, the bold, beautiful women of Wilmington?

Many women are just as excited as their husbands, boyfriends and college classmates. The Tar Heel State is known for college hoops and millions of women take part in every dribble, drive and dunk.

For others, it’s time to fill out a bracket in the office pool and hope you win the $50 cash prize. You don’t need to know the intricacies of help-side defense to enjoy the drama of great basketball.

But for a small subset, March Madness is an annoyance, an inconvenience to deal with. Everyone in the country rallies around college basketball for a few weeks, and you just don’t want to be bothered.

So what if you’re not a basketball fan? Well, the tournament is about much more than basketball.

You have Cinderella stories every March, teams running around attempting to find their glass sneaker. Root for the underdogs, the small schools that have no chance to beat Big State U. Inexplicably, Cinderella wins. This happens every March.

Imagine Kate Middleton as a basketball team. Princess Kate did not have the easiest path to royalty. First, she must win her way past the Greek shipping heiress with loose morals (Kentucky). Her next challenge is the French seductress with ties to the Charlemagne dynasty (Syracuse). Only then can she find her soul mate (the championship). The difference: It’s real life unfolding live on your television.

Don’t like the underdogs? Root for the home teams. Despite a few clunkers in the regular season, Duke and North Carolina will be a presence come tournament time. Either team could make a deep March run, contend for the Final Four or even win a championship.

If somehow you lack the heart to root for Cinderella and lack the soul to root for the home team, just don’t be lame. Even Cruella De Vil threw on a dress and had some fun from time to time.

Go to a bar, watch the last two minutes of a close game and you will be hooked. Drink beer. Yell. This is all very therapeutic.

You may make new friends. You may make new enemies. You may fall in love, though it is much more likely you will just eat fried food. Regardless of the outcome, participate in the process. Few things carry broad cultural significance any more, but the tournament is one of them. Be a part of that.