The squeak of shoes against the gym floor.
The blood, sweat, and tears.
The Cinderella stories.
That’s what March Madness is made of.
But on March 12, that all changed. For the first time, we didn’t have that escape. We didn’t build up excitement all day, waiting for work or class to end so we could catch the game. The sports world just stopped. When the world is in crisis, what do Americans do best? We rally together and show toughness, trying to move forward together. One way we do that is through the power of sports. When we watch sports, we forget about our problems. We watch our favorite team fight for victory as we sit back and cheer, laugh, and cry together.
Now, we are asked to do the opposite. In this time of need, we are asked to stay home, away from as many people as we can. We aren’t feeling the rush of adrenaline from watching a buzzer-beating, game-winning shot. We feel alone and uncertain about what the future holds.
Now, we sit at home waiting and wishing for a day of normalcy – a day we can get away from our problems and watch our favorite teams and athletes play. But for now, sports can wait. As healthcare professionals work to save lives, we’ll do our part to practice social distancing. Soon we’ll be able to hit play and go back to enjoying many more special moments together!
And as an Illini fan, I’m especially disappointed. This is one of the better Illinois teams we have seen in recent years. Could this have been the year the orange and blue made a big run in March? Would it have been another year where a number one seed falls to a sixteen seed? Even though March Madness did not happen this year, we can still talk about what could have happened. Who do you think would have been the sleeper team, or that twelve seed that makes the big run? I believe the Big Ten would made a lot of noise. I think teams like Duke and Kentucky would have had earlier exits than expected. Both teams had some interesting losses this year. Duke lost to both Clemson and Stephen F. Austin. They also had a 22-point loss to North Carolina State.
Look at Kentucky. They had a young team and an early-season loss to Evansville. That is a team when the game is on the line, they would buck up or fold like they did in the Evansville game at home.
March Madness is a time where miracles happen and brackets are busted. But that will have to wait until next year. So in the meantime, sit back and write your own March Madness story, like I have, where the 2020 NCAA basketball Champions are the University of Illinois Fighting Illini!