Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Own March Madness

note: a modified version of this column appears in the April 2008 Kent News

Ten days can feel like a long time. It has been three months since I submitted my last college application, and since then all that I have had to do is wait. While the entire waiting period has been stressful, the ten days since spring break have been almost unbearable. Coming back to Kent I had hoped to find decisions waiting for me, or at least to come in the next couple of days, but almost two weeks later I am still waiting for that last (extremely relevant) decision. Even with an acceptance in hand, three rejections have done nothing for my peace of mind, and by now I am a complete wreck.

Every time I go near the mail center, hear mention of colleges or even think about my pending decisions (right now for instance) I feel like a recovering addict; my pulse skyrockets and my stomach is in knots. I know I’m not the only one, even if it is little comfort. Everyone from the class of ’08 seems a little bit on edge right now. Being a senior in early March is something that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

So Why is this relevant? Where is the sports column usually appearing in this space?

Seven times, over the last four days I have sat down to write the NCAA Basketball tournament column I promised my editors. I’m just not up to it. It simply isn’t going to happen. My original premise was to write about tournament brackets and how ridiculous it is that everyone thinks theirs is awful because they didn’t have the 10 seed in the elite eight or the thirteen seed from the WCC beating the four seed from the Big East.

I liked the idea but it isn’t going to work for a number of reasons. First of all the concept became a little bit iffy when all four one seeds ended up winning their regions for the most predictable final four in NCAA tournament history. Secondly, and more importantly, I can’t sit still for more than 30 seconds without deciding that I need to check my mail, getting up and realizing that it is 11:15 P.M. The bottom line is that there is really only one thing that I can concentrate on long enough to write a (semi-) coherent column about, so I’m giving in.

Even if I have decided that an NCAA tournament column would be impossible at the moment because of my own personal “March madness,” I haven’t given up on following sports, quite the opposite in fact. At the best of times sports can be a nice escape from a stressful day to day life. Very seldom has an escape been more welcome than over the past couple of weeks. While a Sharks’ win or a good day for my bracket may not make up for a rejection from Dartmouth or Northwestern, they certainly don’t hurt to take my mind off of it for a while.

Luckily for me, the late March/early April period may be the best of the year for sports fans. The aforementioned NCAA tournament provides some of the most enthralling dates on the calendar in the first couple of rounds. Very few sports fans don’t enjoy sitting in front of their TVs or computers checking their brackets and rooting for 15 seeds (even if they don’t even know where Belmont is). The NBA and NHL are entering their stretch runs, providing a steady stream of excitement and drama as teams duke it out for the last couple of playoff spots. On top of all that Baseball’s season is under way and the NFL draft, one of my favorite events of the year, is just around the corner.

These are just the distractions I need right now. So thank god for an endless stream of NFL mock drafts (even if one letter changed Matt Ryan from my favorite player in the draft not named Ryan Clady or Darren McFadden to my least favorite), thank god for the Red Sox starting up (even though it is ridiculous that they have to do so in Japan four days before the rest of the league), for deadline acquisition/blueline god Brian Campbell pushing the Sharks on a 18-0-2 run and for the Warriors trying to street ball their way into the playoffs. Without those things I could be going insane.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I need to go check my mail.

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