We Americans love the show. It is the computer-controlled, whole house holiday lighting schemes that lead to traffic jams of eager viewers, virtuosity on stage to a standing “O” and the homerun derbies rather than singles to left that we seem to crave. We longingly eye the ski-lift to the black diamond ski run, though everyone knows our skills are best suited for the bunny slope. We’re “all-in” for the multi-million dollar lottery payoff, choosing not to buy tickets if the pool “is only $2 million.” You get the idea. It’s all about the big dance. In college basketball this week, the men’s and women’s dances are simply known as March Madness.
We love the unexpected. There are smiles around the watercooler every time the experts’ predictions prove no better than our own. “Have no fear, Underdog is here!” Even the best prognosticators succumb to the busted bracket and are left to hope at least the final four will hold up another night. Alas, there are sleepers lurking and a Cinderella, intent on thwarting big money programs with million dollar coaching staffs and marquee rosters, may threaten to crash the party. We’ll marvel if the UConn ladies can stretch their winning streak beyond 110 games, but secretly root for an upset just to see who can pull it off.
There is a teachable moment ahead as you watch these exciting weeks unfold. Basketball is played five on five. For every monster jam, MVP scoring run and buzzer-beater-upset, remind your children to admire the defensive star, the adept wizard from the foul line and the calm, consoling coach with an arm around a player in distress. The points from the foul line are of equal value, a coach’s wisdom can meld an unbeatable spirit and the defensive ace that prevents another from scoring might as well have scored herself. While others are focused upon the showiest at the dance, help your child pick out the quiet, unassuming players whom others miss as only “bit part actors;” these invaluable roles actually ensure that the show must go on.