March has always been a special month for me.
First, it is my birthday month, which always adds to the anticipation, but the main reasons I love March are the NCAA basketball tournament and the signs that winter is finally behind us.
March Madness is a great name for the tournament, but it also seems to fit my mood. By now, I believe I have worn a path on the indoor track at the Southern Prairie YMCA and the staff has to be tired of the Southwestern Community College runners and I blowing a circut while running on the treadmills.
One of my least favorite tasks this time of year is clearing snow and frost from my car’s windshield, especially after a three-year hiatus in Texas of never having to clean off my windshield and my friends always laughing that I kept an ice scraper in my backseat.
The bitter cold made scrapping even more frustrating this year and being a forgetful person, I never seemed to have my gloves handy when I needed to clean my windows.
I’m ready for longer days, warmer temperatures and some color to return to the fields in the rural areas.
The start of spring also means outdoor track is just around the corner and opening day for major league baseball is about to start. This year, our Sports Editor Scott Vicker talked me into playing fantasy baseball, so I will have a much stronger following of the long baseball season.
But, all of those other sports can be put on hold while we wait to see who is going dancing this season.
I hope to see both Iowa and Iowa State make it far in the tournament, but that always makes filling out a bracket difficult.
Every year I think I have found the perfect mix of upsets to piece together a winning bracket. Every year it seems like I am also out of contention to win anything after the first round, so maybe I should save my $1 I throw away to play in the bracket challenge.
Another dark horse — if you can call a 31-0 regular season team that — is Wichita State. This group of Shockers remind me of those special Drake Bulldog and University of Northern Iowa Panther teams that had exciting regular and post seasons.
I hope their fate is different and Wichita State is able to make a return trip to the Final Four.
Then there are always the favorites that are hard to pick against. Duke and Gonzaga always pick up a lot of fans during the tournament.
I’m another year older and hopefully gained a little wisdom for picking out my teams for March Madness. If not, hopefully the weather improves enough to distract me from my poor picks.
Best of luck to anyone else filling out their brackets this year.