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The Upside of Madness
Please allow me to burst through the cascade of daily idiocy and extol the wonder of Spring. This bright moment on Nature’s cycle brings with it a promise of renewal, of another chance to thrive and grow, of the sheer power of life itself. And, of course, of hope.

Allow me to further suggest that the NCAA college basketball championships are also a part of this pageant of life. What better point to contemplate the simple purity of amateur athletics? And what event better represents a kind of competition untainted by materiality than the innocent quest for victory that is March Madness?

It might be argued that the Olympics would be better cast in such a role. Sadly, however, the Games have been infected with the professionalism of perpetual champions. They have been co-opted by politics and degraded by rampant cheating. Most of the participants in March Madness, by contrast, will never see a paycheck for their athletic skills. A very few will go on to the NBA or WNBA and claim a brief living as professionals, but the rest will come to lead otherwise normal lives. For them, this is not about the money. It is about a moment of glory that only the young can feel, one that comprehends the virtues of good, clean competition: respect for your opponent, playing by the rules…and prevailing with honor against the very best.

It’s just sports we’re talking about, of course, but how can we be numb to such worthy intentions? Especially when such purity is tested in the national spotlight for all to see? It is good to know, in spite of the tide of meanness and selfishness we must swim against each day, that there is a universe, however small and insignificant, where our better selves can find affirmation.

(I should say here, in the interest of full disclosure, that there might be another factor coloring my Pollyanna-ish view of these NCAA tournaments. My bracket was the lucky winner in my pool. I am told that such betting competitions might be illegal, but I can only say that I played with a purity of heart that mirrored that of the the tournament itself. My cash winnings, though substantial, are irrelevant. I was in it strictly for the glory, and though I will no doubt be praised for my unique system for picking winners and my clear-eyed assessment of multiple branching probabilities, I will not brag about my victory nor do anything else to disrespect my fellow competitors. I salute you all, and thanks for playing.)

If my victory has in any way affected my analysis here, however, I will not apologize. How could I? My existence is now fortified by a kind of hope that only a truly glorious victory could provide. My notions of fairness and honor are renewed, and I am emboldened as I step back into a wider universe where such virtues must fight to gain traction.

At least that fight will be easier now. With the power of life itself under my wings.

That, and the cash in my pocket.
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon