Performance of Sports: Bracketology
That time of year is upon us again. In high school I saw people hiding phones under their desks to watch. During lunch period the TVs in the cafeteria were on multiple channels showing it. When I worked in an office setting during my undergrad years we were allowed to have it on our computers occasionally as long as we had the sound off and closed it if a customer called. Yes folks, I’m talking about the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, otherwise known as March Madness. What is so “mad” about it? 63 games in under a month seems a little wild to me. I don’t know about you. Today is Selection Sunday, when the bracket is released and fans begin developing their own bracket predictions. So what kind of performance can we see in bracketology?
I can’t even begin to guess how many bracket competitions exist between the NCAA itself, major organizations, friends and family, office or workplace settings, and so on and so on. When I was in my undergrad I worked in an office where every year we had our own office March Madness. In the five years that I worked there we did competitions of best cereal, chip, candy, and others that I can’t quite remember right now. The chip year was my FAVORITE. The bracket would be released in a common area of the office and then each day we got to taste test the two contenders of that day and then vote. Edible brackets are the best kind of brackets. Other competitions that I’ve done are family competitions where each year I complete my bracket by choosing my favorite mascot or team colors as the winner for each game until eventually my overall favorite mascot or colors wins. One year I even made my bracket so that the team that won was the team closest to my hometown. Clearly, I don’t take bracketology very seriously, but some people do. Even starting huge betting pools so the winner gets a prize at the end. If you want to play along on my Instagram page this month, I’m doing a theatre March Madness too. So many people love to perform their brackets (reasonable or otherwise) alongside others as the tournament is happening.
There are other elements of performance that happen during the tournament such as watching the mascot’s tricks and gathering for a championship party, both of which I have already talked about in previous posts. March Madness for me and my family is more about the fun of making our brackets and waiting for the upsets. Bracketology is a major performance within March Madness and whether or not it is taken seriously, it’s always fun.