March Madness Should Be a National Holiday

Bobby McGrane

A while ago, I wrote an article explaining why the holidays arewere the best time of year for sports fans.  I may have been wrong; it’s hard to beat March Madness.  Granted, not a whole lot else is going on in the sports world, but still.  As I am writing this article, the first round has been completed.  It was so wild, that there are already a grand total of 0 perfect brackets remaining in the world.  That’s hard to fathom.  0 of the 13 million brackets submitted to ESPN’s Tournament Challenge got the first 32 games correct.  But as you examine the first round more closely, you can start to understand why.  On Friday, a 13- seed, 14- seed, and 15- seed moved on to the second round, including Middle Tennessee State orchestrating one of the best March Madness upsets of all time, knocking off No. 2-seed Michigan State.  Michigan State was the second-most popular pick to win the national championship, with 21% of brackets picking the Spartans to win it all.  They’re already gone.
No other playoff system in sports can compare to March Madness.  NBA, NHL, and MLB playoffs are all based around series instead of individual games, so the favorites routinely triumph over the underdogs.  It’s a different story in March.  With the tournament being single-elimination, every player in every game gives it their all for all 40 minutes, especially the underdogs.  March Madness is where Ccinderellas put their programs on the map.  Would you have heard of Middle Tennessee State or Stephen F. Austin without their big upsets?  It’s also where future NBA superstars make a name for themselves.  NBA MVP Stephen Curry’s career would likely be vastly different without his 2008 Ccinderella run with Davidson.  And the excitement is unmatched in all of sports.  The games are always close.  It’s a little weird.  It can be stressful if your favorite team is involved;, but otherwise, it’s pure entertainment.  
No other sport can claim the upsets, comebacks, and excitement that come with March Madness, and the entire country loves it.  Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski put it best when he said that “for one month, college basketball unites the whole country.”  March Madness even gets people who have little or no interest in basketball to fill out a bracket and follow the tournament closely.
This is why the first two days of the NCAA tournament should be a national holiday.  I’d be willing to trade Presidents’ Day and Columbus Day for it.  Nobody really celebrates those, and tens of millions of Americans watch the tournament.  So, Obama, if you’re reading this (I know how big of a Radnorite fan you are), please make the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament a national holiday.  Thank you.