It is the time of year again when millions of Americans are inflicted with an ailment called March Madness! This is one of the biggest sporting events in the country. During this season, which is dominated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s college basketball tournament, a feverish pace comes upon the sports world while all eyes turn towards collegiate basketball in hopes of witnessing history. From the East Coast to the West Coast, and all in between, basketball enthusiasts want to know if their “brackets” are in order to track this year’s upset.
March Madness attracts crowds, excitement and a lot of revenue for the NCAA. It dates as far back as 1939 when it was called the Final Four and run by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. During this phenomenon, brackets are filled out by more than 60 million Americans with nearly a billion dollars being spent on off-book gambling. The bracket is a well-designed solution to the age-old problem of how to effectively separate the best from the worst. In reality, the NCAA tournament’s outcome historically complicates the bracket’s smokescreen of simplicity; nevertheless, die-hard fans study all season in order to fill out a bracket based on mascot/color preference in hopes of identifying the team who will take the winnings.
There is an interesting term used during March Madness by nearly all of ESPN’s analysts. The term, “On the bubble” is used to identify teams that are on the edge of being emitted from or admitted to the NCAA Tournament. In other words, a team which is considered on the bubble would be one of the last teams to either get in or be left out. A team gets on the bubble because of a critical late season loss, or a set of wins that thrusts a team into the discussion. On the contrary, teams get off the bubble by either winning to solidify their resume or by losing to have no chance.
After performing a bit of research, the phrase on the bubble can also be viewed as an allegory of the potential we all have on the inside. In fact, by looking closely at the similarities, a new meaning to this whole crazy month of sports utopia can be acquired…even for non-basketball fans. The definition of the phrase in the sports world is: Being on the threshold or finely balanced between success and failure. For example, the top six teams in the tournament proceed to the next round, those who are close to qualification can get through by a small increase in performance. These teams would be considered on the bubble.
Simply stated, the place of the “bubble” is where beliefs and behavior meet. In order to get on the bubble, the teams only needed to demonstrate a “small increase in performance.” More often than not in our personal lives, it is not the huge margins that people find difficult, instead, it is the daily, mundane habits that seem to trip people up the most. When people pause and take a serious look at the challenges of their lives or careers, they tend to find that if minimum discipline had been applied in a few minor areas, the outcome could have been much different. It always amazes clients who employ our coaching firm to discover it was small behaviors that held them back… not huge deficiencies.
Whether a basketball enthusiast or not, March Madness allows for some fun events filled with excitement. It is also the perfect time to figure out where individuals are in their own “brackets” of life. For those sitting in the area called the bubble, they must decide whether they will do what it takes to push their performance to the next level.
The measure of a man’s greatness will never be about his accomplishments as much as his ability to govern his own self. Most are only a few short tweaks away from a life of abundance and innovation. During the hype of March Madness, the question that remains is, “Who will make the adjustments to see the victory?”
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
YAHOO! News: March Madness explained
Smithsonian Magazine: When Did Filling Out A March Madness Bracket Become Popular?
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