I'd like to take some time in this first blog to celebrate the life of Justin James Wolfshohl. It is few and far between that you meet a man with the patience, integrity, and kindness of Justin. It is he who originated this blog for me over a month and a half ago. It is my laziness and preoccupation with baguettes that has kept the blog unused. Well, if its all the same to you, that stops today. Today I'd like to talk about March Madness. I'd like to tell you why it should required viewing for all males.
With permission, I'll proceed.
Historically, it would be difficult to call me a sports fan. The only sport I played was tennis. Now, Tennis is a fine sport, but not the way I played. After my second year on the Freshman team, I hung up my "D-shaped" racket and pride somewhere behind a deflated pogo-ball and torn Wham! poster.
I grew up very separated form the world of sports, and, while I did not necessarily feel the repercussions of this lifestyle, I understand now what I have been deprived of. The organization, anticipation, and exaltations of large single elimination tournaments like March Madness are clear ways to discipline youthful males with a desire for knowledge, a sense of involvement in a national community, a consideration of loyalty, and the basis of a firm competitive spirit.
The typical adolescent is dangerously thirsty for deep drink of knowledge. There is no challenge in the educational system save standardized tests and the few and far between projects teachers seldom assign. Many students are not academically challenged until far into their high school career, even their college years. It is the lack of a necessity that leaves them in this slump. With involvement into historical and fact based events like March Madness, young men are engaged in roster and statistics memorization and also becoming part of living history. How many 30 year old men have readily forgotten the 1992 last minute shot by Christian Laettner? The answer is: not many. The men who saw this game have a specific place in sports history and that game has a relevance in their life that connects them into a community with other peers. It is this community of masculinity that our society is so desperate for.
Young men who are involved in sports at an early age, not just playing, but engaging have a better aptitude for a healthy competitive spirit. It is the ones who start late in their life who have trouble dealing with defeat. With a firm basis of competition that is not of their own actions, but instead of their own loyalties, young men are inspired to believe in teh ability of more than their own strength, they are forced to defer to, even rely upon the abilities of others to drive their own successes.
I am, for the first time in my life, an avid follower of the current Madness about us. It is with a regretful eye I look back on a history devoid of this epic battle of wills. There is not a human or societal emotion that cannot be expressed, understood, or experienced through the watching of these games, and it is in the early exploration of these emotions that create complete and balanced men, men we must be and men we must raise.
If you are a father, gather your son close and turn on the game. If you are a man, meet with friends and watch victory and defeat in the comfort of a brotherhood. If you are young, put down your book and video game controller. Experience the beginning of what will be your lifelong tutor.
Pencils and pens up. We will begin by defining "team."