March is a fun time of year. Daylight savings time has kicked in, the leaves are beginning to bud and we can actually see grass on the ground, now that rain is falling instead of snow, finally. Baseball's spring training is under way, and champions are being crowned in college basketball.
In Loretto, the St. Francis Lady Flash are going dancing for the first time since 2005, and their low-key head coach was even moved to dancing herself after her team's NEC tournament championship win. Susan Robinson Fruchtl is doing an outstanding job with the Lady Flash and is returning the St. Francis women's program to the notoriety of its glory days. It will be fun to see them make the trip to the NCAA Tournament. Go Flash!
On the men's side, hoop fans are scrambling to fill out their brackets. Diehards are scheduling vacation time (or planning to play hooky) for the early round days that are packed with action.
There is something special about postseason basketball. The months of work leading up to the most magical time of the season is finally going to pay off for teams, coaches and legions of fans.
This is do-or-die time - win and play another day, lose and go home. There is no greater urgency than in the NCAA tourney. The other cool thing about the tournament is that anything can happen.
Watching the men's selection show Sunday night, the best live reactions came from bubble teams and small-league champions - those little, unranked squads with big dreams of making big noise at the Big Dance.
We know that, in general, teams like Lehigh and Vermont don't stand much of a chance against the likes of Kansas or Kentucky. Still, there's always that slim possibility that a Cinderella will emerge, that a David will meet a Goliath and find a way to create one of those unforgettable moments in sports. If it weren't possible, why would we even bother with 65 teams? We could just start with the Final Four and have one weekend of championship college basketball. But the big bracket is so much more fun.
Beginning Thursday, arenas will be filled with painted-face fans, cheering and jumping in the stands in synchronized chaos. We'll hear the behind-the-scenes stories of players who have battled back from injury, overcome tragedy or simply banded together to find themselves on college basketball's biggest stage.
We'll watch nervous coaches' wives and players' parents cheering in the stands, agonizing over every free throw and rejoicing with every made shot. We'll see blowouts and buzzer-beaters and probably a couple of upsets that will turn the tournament upside-down.
In the end, we'll hear Jennifer Hudson's award-winning voice belting out the event-ending song, and look back at three wonderful weeks of "shining moments."
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.