186 South College

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Month: March 2015

The Madness of March

Simply put, March is a weird month. It is not really winter, and while technically spring, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. The end of it is spring break, but it’s a few stressful weeks before getting there.

While I could surely do without all of the crazy weather and midterms, I would not be able to do with out March Madness. The three weeks of basketball, crazy upsets, bracket pools, and glory, what’s not to love?

I am obsessed with making tournament brackets. If I’m being completely honest, I made seven last year alone. Granted, they are not always the most successful. I have learned over the years not to put too much thought into my decisions. For instance, a few years ago, I made selections solely on the name and mascot of the school. The school with the more unique name and mascot always made it into the next round. So, schools like Gonzaga went far. Using this highly technical strategy, I somehow won my family’s bracket pool. However, last year, when I actually tried to make decisions based on the skills of the teams, I ended up coming in last place. And, I don’t like to lose.

So this year, I have changed my strategy. I tried to make smart, quick decisions. No over-thinking or lingering on a certain matchup, just picking what ever team stood out to me. Right now, my bracket is doing decently and I certainly hope it continues that way throughout the rest of the tournament. This year, I am not playing for anything but glory and that is certainly enough for me.

While I love brackets, my favorite part of the tournament is the upsets. Every year, there are teams that win against all odds. I love these upsets because they truly demonstrate that anything is possible. Nobody expects anything of these teams; few pick them to win in their bracket; they are truly underdogs. But somehow, they manage to play their hearts out and win. For me, there is nothing like watching the pure joy on the faces of the players as they win a game that nobody thought they could.

For instance, the Georgia State vs. Baylor game that happened the other day. Georgia State (the lower seeded team) won the game with a three pointer in the last 4 seconds. Not only was America surprised, but Georgia State’s own coach literally fell out of his chair. (If you have not watched a video of that ending, you should do it now).

March Madness is exciting, nerve-wracking, and by far the best part of March. These games prove that anything is possible, although I am hoping that the only outcomes are the ones that I predicted in my bracket.

Let’s Play Some Dominoes – Part 2

“Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Toward the end of last semester, I wrote about my experience volunteering with my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, at The Friendship House’s Saturday Morning Sanctuary. This experience really made me think about community service and why it is important to help those in need. I felt like a changed person afterward. This past Saturday, I was able to volunteer at Saturday Morning Sanctuary once more, and those feelings were strengthened from the experience.

I entered the same church with my group, wondering if I would see the man I talked to last time, Peter, again. Part of me did not want him to be there; I was hoping that over the winter his situation improved and that he did not need to come to the sanctuary any longer. The other part of me, however, wanted to see him once more. I told him that I would come back, and I wanted to keep that promise.

As we began to hand out cups, sugar, and hot chocolate packets, I noticed a man walking over who looked very familiar. I wasn’t sure why at first, but then I realized who it was – Peter. His hair was shorter than the last time I saw him, but other than that he looked the same. We introduced ourselves and he told me that I looked familiar. I reminded him of the time I came last semester, and he remembered in an instant who I was and what we had talked about! I ended up sitting with him for a little to catch up. We talked about politics, traveling, our families, anything that we could think of! He was the same kind, intelligent person who I had met before.

Later on, I noticed a man sitting in the corner of the room carving what looked like the face of a lion into a long wooden walking stick. Bill, the man in charge of the sanctuary, asked the carving man, Marshall, to show us his other pieces, and he ran out of the room only to come pack with two large bags filled with more walking sticks. He pulled them out one by one, showing us the intricate carvings that he had made into the wood; each had its own story. He used techniques, like burning the wood, to shade the sticks, and he planned on eventually using paint to color them and personalize them for potential clients. He wasn’t doing it for money, though; he was doing it because he loved it. It was a way for him to escape for a little bit and do something that made him happy. And, boy, was he good at it! They were beautiful! I wanted to buy one right then and there, but, alas, I am a broke college kid.

After hearing Marshall’s spiel, we went back to handing out cups and sugar. I noticed that each person who came up to us was so kind and friendly. They all wanted to have conversations with us, even if they were only a few sentences long. The experience really reinforced what I had learned last time – that the stigmas behind homelessness simply aren’t true. Not having a stable living situation does not make you any less of a human; it just makes you more vulnerable. That is why it was so important that we volunteered there; it gave these people a chance to focus on something other than their lifestyle for a few hours and have meaningful, friendly conversations with another person.

I like to think that some day homelessness will no longer be a problem in our society, but I may be too optimistic. In the meantime, I can continue to volunteer my time to these people and do my best to get them to where they want to be in life. I know that what I did may not seem like much, but even the smallest action can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

~Heather Brody

Why You Should Embrace The Madness

With winter slowly giving way to the approaching spring, arguably the greatest period in sports has finally come upon us. I am of course referring to March Madness, the colloquial term for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament.

The tournament is a series of 64 single-elimination games played between the best college teams in the nation. The results of each game are displayed by using a bracket, and each year millions of Americans attempt to correctly guess the results of each game in order to achieve the milestone of having “the perfect bracket”. There is no official record of anybody ever having a perfect bracket, but this does not stop people from trying anyway.

In 2012, a math professor from DePaul University concluded that the odds of a perfect bracket were about 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,755,808 (1 in 9.2 quintillion). Just for comparison, you have a 1 in 250,000 chance of getting killed by a meteorite, 1 in 175 million chance of winning the Powerball lottery, and 1 in 700,000 chance of being hit by lightning. The chances of a perfect bracket are so low that last year, businessman Warren Buffet offered $1 billion to anyone that successfully picked a perfect bracket (needless to say, he didn’t have to pay out). Assuming that you are a normal, rational person, you may see these odds and decide to not even try to fill out a bracket. Well, I am here to tell you that you can still do so, and you definitely do not need to be a college basketball guru to be successful with your bracket!

There really is no correct way for picking your teams in your bracket. Sure, you can do your research, find out which teams have the best records, and fill your bracket out that way, but March Madness is known for its upsets and unfamiliar teams going on Cinderella runs. Because of its unpredictable nature, anybody and everybody is equally qualified to fill out a bracket!

Some methods that people have used to fill out their brackets are: most bizarre mascot, prettiest uniforms, colleges that family or friends attended, familiar colleges, or just blind picks.

Unfortunately, UD will not be partaking in this year’s tournament after losing in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. The team that is most likely to win it all this year in the University of Kentucky, which has an astonishing record of 34 wins and 0 losses in the regular season. The Kentucky Wildcats are looking to be the first team to go unbeaten in the regular season and win the March Madness tournament since the Indiana University Hoosiers in the 1975-1976 season.

Whether you are a serious fan who is looking to win big, or a casual fan who wants a friendly competition with coworkers or peers, the insanity that is March Madness is for anybody and everybody! So, pick your teams, sit back, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

~Scott Eisenhart

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