let the madness begin!

Ah, yes… once again it’s that maddening time of year… the time when even the fair-weathered fan engages, knowing they have equal opportunity to dominate the bracket. Note to all: the bracket busting potential is also inevitably equal.

Perhaps, no less, what many love best is the welcoming of diversity in a way that puts no one down in order to rise up self. If we haven’t noticed, as a country, culture, we aren’t always good at that. But at this annual event — albeit altered once more by the hopefully waning pandemic — all teams have a seat at the table… or a place on the court, that is. Each has a shot at their One Shining Moment. The ball is tipped. And there they are.

Some of the groups are surprisingly plenty…

We find three Mountaineers, three sets of Spartans, and four unique species of Tigers.

There are also four Eagle varieties, although only one claims to be Golden.

No doubt more than the Eagles intend to fly high… this would include both the Hawks and the Hawkeyes, the Jayhawks and Bluejays, but to be clear, no blue hawks or jay eyes. I suppose the Yellow Jackets may wish to be considered here, but the predatory wasp tends to thrive more in summer than in spring. 

The Ducks are oft confused with other members of the fowl family. Granted, they are not monophyletic, although some would suggest they are more comfortable on a different playing field — water or football. Our representative reptiles, the Gators, might also find increased ease in one or more of those venues… just saying.

We find two groups of Cougars and multiple others hailing from the cat and dog families — the Bears, Bobcats, Bruins, and a couple of Bulldogs, not to mention the Huskies, Wolverines, and a pair of Wildcats. I suspect there is the desire by some for said animals to be domesticated through this process; that will depend, however, on whose shining moment it actually is.

Still come animals that just seem a bit confusing on the hardwood… the Antelopes, Longhorns, Buffaloes, Badgers and Beavers, for example. I’d creatively comment that the latter two, while busy, seem selectively slow-moving, but dare we disrespect the seventh state’s Terrapins; that, uh, would be a turtle. Confusing still, though, are the Dragons. We’re talking folklore here, friends.

Lest we forget the Rams, Ramblers, and Razorbacks — each fast and fun to watch.

Others on the court may initially appear arguably more formidable… the Gauchos, Cowboys and Cavaliers, the Vikings and Volunteers, and the Raiders, Red Raiders and Scarlet Knights. Still more are defined solely by their color. Who knew an inanimate entity could be so competitive? Here we find both the Orange and the Mean Green. To be clear, the “mean” with the “green” sounds a little more intimidating. But what about the boys from Alabama. I mean, is the Crimson Tide actually a color or some aquatic, albeit creative kind of wave?

The colors are not alone in their inanimate quest. There are freedom’s Flames, actual Shockers, and some whose defining characteristic is speaking Gaelic. To be clear, the Hoyas are alive, albeit a sprawling evergreen shrub.

We should also acknowledge those yet to be cancelled — the Aztecs, Seminoles, and Illini. The Land of Lincoln’s representative is at least still Fighting, politically incorrect as such may be. 

Note that in response to the question, “what’s this?”… An Aggie is a “short way for saying agriculturalist”… A Hokie is the product of one senior student’s imagination from 1896 and now proudly describes those faithful to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University… A Sooner is in reference to the early participants in the Land Run of 1889… And a Bonnie? Still working on that one. As for a Boilermaker… well, that’s a really witty, semi-humble, always engaging and fun blogger with lots of enthusiasm and always more to learn.

Let us not forget the Trojans and Tarheels and all the nuts from Ohio. Granted, my personal perspective — love them as I do — is that they’re a little nuttier during football season.

All for now, my friends. What a joy it is to be on life’s journey together… to sit and welcome all those at the table.

May we enjoy the Madness… the fun and games and last second shots. May we each have moments that shine.