March Madness, Solnit was right.
The month of March in NCAA basketball brings about glory, madness, upsets, and for some disaster. Joe Posnanki’s article in Sports Illustrated talks about the unpredictability of the NCAA tournament compared to NBA playoffs. He goes on to describe how playing one game eliminations give teams hope and a level playing field. Posnanki depicts the teams in the final game as having survived a month of hell (Posnanki, 2011). Through this hell, the wining teams found unity. They found that the five players on the floor have to work together to achieve a victory. This year the University of Connecticut was an unexpected champion that when faced with the choice of going home, said no. Uconn had a subpar year that was unpredictable, but when it mattered they made it count. The Uconn Huskies won five games in five days to win the Big East tournament. This tournament was the last thing before the NCAA march madness tournament, and was just the spark the team needed.
Disaster, as seen in the college basketball world, is an upset for a highly seeded NCAA basketball team. Kansas was 32-2 during the 2011 season and won its 7th straight Big 12 championship. However, maybe all of this winning went to their heads. In a time of disaster, being down to VCU, they lost their composure. The did not find unity at a time it was needed. When it came to swimming or sinking, they sank. Kansas, a number 1 seed, lost in the elite 8 to VCU who was a lowly 11th seed. You may wonder how this happened? VCU saw that with each game they played that had the chance to create chiaos and disaster.
Unlike in Solnit’s observation that people bond together in times of disaster, Kansas chose to collapse. The key to winning in the face of a disaster is survival, and they were not playing to their potential. Rebecca Solnit would say that Kansas should have listened to her when VCU took control of that game, and a change should have been made. A team that would coincide with Solnit’s views would be Uconn. Uconn displayed a strong sense of fellowship in the tournament, because they were a doubted underdog. When faced with the disaster of ending the season, they chose to keep playing. By going on a winning streak to finish out the season, the team bonded and found their groove. Together, the Uconn Huskies and their coach were ready to face any challenge, or team. To me it seems that Solnit observations are very accurate, because the Uconn huskies are the 2011 NCAA national champions.
Posnanski, J., “The Madness of March,” (April 3rd, 2011). http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/04/03/the-madness-of-march/Solnit, R., “ The Uses of Disaster,” handout made available to the students of POLSCI 101.
Solnit, R., “ The Uses of Disaster,” handout made available to the students of POLSCI101.