Mental health days and March Madness

By middle school, we already had clearly drawn lines. And on this weekend each year, we’d arrive at school in red, two shades of blue, or, for a very few of us, gold and black. These were the battle colors we claimed for ourselves, not of gangs but of area universities: NC State, Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest.


The one on the right isn’t exactly Carolina blue, but it’s the closest thing I own to it.

I grew up in a place and time when college basketball took a backseat to nothing, including school. Teachers and students alike eagerly watched those afternoon games.

Friday afternoon of the ACC tournament was a sacred rite of the classroom. We set aside our Bible belt learning of “Love thy neighbor” in exchange for a few days of (mostly) good-natured rivalry.

By the time I was in ninth grade, teachers were getting creative with their reasons for watching the game. Administrators had begun exerting pressure about the educational reasons to be in school. (Pshaw, we thought.)

That was the year I wrote a report in French about the game we watched. For those of us who loved college basketball, it was easy to prove that any class of any subject should be watching the game. For in it, we learned math, anatomy, social studies, PE and pathos.

Today I’ve been taking a mental health day. At one point, I decided to turn on the TV and see if there was any chance I could watch those boys in red and blue playing ball. Sure enough, even out here on the West Coast, I got to catch a little ACC tournament fever.

It was a tight game, as it should be for two of the original ACC rivals. It wasn’t a Friday game, but still, it carried me back to my younger days, and I could see all over again the connections to math, anatomy, social studies, PE, and, oh, yes, the pathos.

Will you be diving into college basketball these next few days of conference play? Or are you too busy filling out your brackets for the NCAA tourney? Or do you not care the least little bit about such things?

4 thoughts on “Mental health days and March Madness

  1. Too funny… I remember those days well, although (ironically) I don’t remember the report in French! Teachers don’t do this anymore… ACC basketball is not so universally loved anymore, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that we live in Greensboro and not Raleigh (and of course this tourney is not in Greensboro this year and some folks resent that).

    • Being in Greensboro may make a difference. I also think North Carolina’s population is shifting, too, with more transplants from other parts of the country where college basketball isn’t the primary sport. It’s funny that you don’t remember the French essay — it was our one high school French class together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.