So March Madness is upon us.  What is that, you may ask?

Have you been living under a rock?  The camel replies.

It’s the NCAA tournament, which is a basketball event that begat this phenomenon they call March Madness.

This is not to be confused with the Ides of  March which occurred many years ago in 44 B.C. when  Julius Caesar experienced a “madness’ of his own.  Ironically, his assassination was adjacent to the Theater of Pompey in Rome and an adjunct to games scheduled at that venue in his honor.  No home court advantage for Caesar.

But the camel wanders (fittingly enough given the namesake of this blog.)

No, this Madness is a period of time involving sport, specifically college basketball, where institutions of higher learning compete to be the champion of basketball, also called “hoops” by some.  There are no degrees for this one, except degrees of elation and disappointment.

Guess what some people call tournament time?  The correct answer is, Hoopla.  Ding ding ding.  You advance to the next round.

Guess when it happens.  Or, to do it Jeopardy style?  It happens every year in March.  What is the NCAA tournament?

Wow, this is exciting.  Sort of like a tournament.

But to clarify, March Madness is a time of the year when for three weeks, all eyes turn to NCAA Division 1 College Basketball.   OK, maybe not ALL eyes, but according to a March 21, 2014 article in

“NCAA March Madness is upon us, which means we’ll probably be doing a lot less     work as a nation. An estimated 50 million Americans will be participating in office    pools this year, and at an average hourly wage of $24, employers stand to lose over   $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour, says an annual study from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.”

Presently 68 teams are chosen for the NCAA tournament and play 67 games to determine the winner of said tournament.  Only one of these teams ends their season with a win and the Championship.   The rest end their season with a loss.  It’s real life, suck it up.

It’s a time of the year when many also compete in office pools and fill out something called, “brackets” for a chance to win money.

Self proclaimed sports gurus spend hours evaluating tournament pairings and painstakingly pick their projected winners.

Others prefer this method:  “Oh I like the color blue.”  “Isn’t that cute, their nickname is the Ducks?”  “My brother in law went to college in Arizona.”

Many times the “duck” method wins the pool.

So difficult is this bracket process that billionaire, Warren Buffet offered one billion dollars this year to anybody anywhere who could successfully predict every game correctly this year.

Guess what?  Fifteen million people entered and after the week one, everybody lost.

Madness, yes?

It’s a time when schools like Butler, Valparaiso, and North Dakota State become household names and experience national exposure for one shining moment.   When they beat perennial hoop powers like Kentucky, Kansas and Michigan, we rejoice for their moment in the sun, even though it blows our brackets.

It’s a time when dreams come true.  It’s a time when dreams become shattered.

It’s a time when some teams, at least for a window of time, will experience memories they will retain for a life time.

As Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”

Or as Frank Sinatra sang, “You’re riding high in April, Shot down in May.”

And in the end, it’s just a basketball tournament.   Shower it with as much time as you wish, but remember the important things.

Just to keep things in perspective,  here’s a moment that happens to involve a member of a team in the 2014 tourney who seems to realize the important things:

Sometimes you never know.