Even in the midst of Madness, it’s easy to miss March

I miss March.

Yeah, I know what the calendar reads. We’re half past St. Patrick’s Day and a few ticks into the NCAA basketball tournaments.

But for a high school basketball fan yearning for more of the IHSA’s Original March Madness, it’s been a tough couple weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. Like millions of other people, I’ll be eating up every bit of college hoops I can stomach over the next few weeks. I love the Cinderellas rising and the Blue Bloods squaring off.

Still, I can’t help but miss what was a terrific end to the high school basketball season. The area was shut out of the top hardware, but Aurora Christian claimed fourth in the Class 1A boys tournament and Palatine finished fourth in 4A.

On the girls side, Montini beat Hinsdale South for third place in Class 3A and Fremd did the same to Waubonsie Valley in 4A.

It wasn’t the picture-perfect ending for our teams, but the experience again showed how unforgettable the prep playoffs turn out every season. They never disappoint.

It’s always taken me a while to warm up to basketball season because I still have a glow in the wake of football. The championship games Thanksgiving weekend are tough to beat.

And let’s be honest, those late November and early December basketball games aren’t exactly masterpieces. It’s not until the holiday tournaments at the soonest for teams to really start rounding into shape.

Basketball is the longest season of the school year, inevitably bringing the dog days sometime in mid January and early February.

But then it strikes. The playoff seeds come out. Then the pairings. Then, before you know it, the regionals start.

Everyone is all in at that point. With only a handful of winter sports on the high school schedule, entire student bodies jump on the basketball bandwagons.

There’s simply nothing better than packed gymnasiums during the playoffs.

For the longest season, though, it also goes by too quick. Regionals, sectionals, state … in a blink it’s over.

And that’s when I start to miss March.

I love all three high school seasons for various reasons, but spring is tough.

This is the time when everyone scatters. Athletes are hitting shuttlecocks in the gym, sprinting on the track, launching homers on the diamond and rocketing set pieces on the pitch.

Amid the chaos, it becomes more difficult to rally around a specific team like in football and basketball. We’ll still see the playoff crowds — whether it’s in boys volleyball, girls soccer, etc. — but it’s not the same.

There’s too much going on in the spring to fully appreciate it. Plus, I’ve spent way too many spring days freezing at baseball games to fully appreciate anything through numb fingers and toes.

It’s also a season where the athletes are getting ready for the next step in their development. They’re trying to finish strong in the classroom, setting up college visits, getting ready for graduation and scheduling a summer filled with working to get better.

If the winter sports season is the longest, the spring may be the shortest. With all the rainouts and cold-outs, it’s a sprint to the finish of the school year.

Let’s all try to enjoy this one last push to the end.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.