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March seems to be a special month for Kentucky. It is particularly special for those who love basketball. This is the month that the NCAA basketball tournament begins, and it dominates the airwaves nationwide. Even the president of the United States has his bracket displayed on national television.
This tournament captures the imagination of the nation. Part of the reason for its appeal is the number of teams, 68, that get to participate. Brackets of the competition are prominent and every basketball fan is invited to use their skills to predict every game in the tournament. Nationwide competitions are set up for these brackets. Offices around the country are in bracket competition. It is a national obsession.
However, for Kentucky, it is the most watched NCAA event of the year. Kentucky is known for basketball. Kentucky has been a significant part of NCAA basketball lore for decades. The University of Kentucky is always at the top of the list of important basketball schools. Its history includes being the 2012 NCAA champions as well as losing the 1966 championship to Texas Western.
This year, the excitement remains focused on March Madness as another Kentucky team, the University of Louisville, is expected to do very well in the tournament.
From a performance standpoint, this tournament offers more than partisan fan bases. Most people focus on the tournament to see which underdog will play their best game of the season and beat a well-known team. It is a classic David and Goliath event.
Fans watch for which 15 seed will knock off a 2 seed and what will be the lowest seed to make the Final Four.
Kentucky basketball fans are well trained to appreciate the role of the underdog in basketball. Basketball can be the great equalizer of a sport. While tall people dominate the game, a shorter person who can shoot from the outside can change any game by making several 3-point shots. A team that plays together can often beat a team that has superior talent but is more focused on individual players.
Let the 2013 March Madness tournament be one of enjoyment and partisan cheering. When you are not rooting for your own team, take the opportunity to watch other teams and players who are having the time of their lives on the big stage. Enjoy the Cinderella team that makes it to the Final Four for the first time in their history. Enjoy the player who plays his best when it matters most in the NCAA tournament.
It appears there is more parity in college basketball than ever before. Teams like Gonzaga are now a force to be dealt with. Gonzaga might not make it to the Final Four but take the time to find out how they have played well enough to be ranked No. 1 this late in the season. Pick a few other teams you don’t usually root for and find out what makes them special and join their fan base for March Madness. It will expand your enjoyment of the tournament.
March Madness is special in Kentucky because of the success Kentucky schools traditionally have had in the tournament. This year will be no different as there will be surprises and disappointments. As we know in Kentucky, basketball can be the great equalizer. Enjoy the performance and competition.
Dr. Wilson is a performance consultant in Hardin County and owner of The Wilson Center for Performance. He is performance anxiety consultant to the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center. He can be reached at TheWilsonCenter7@aol.com.