Madness is truly the best word to describe it. From mid-March to early April every year, sports fanatics across Chamblee Charter High School devote their time and energy to basketball as men and women’s college basketball teams compete in the NCAA Division I Tournament. More commonly known as March Madness, the tournament every year is famous for breeding harsh rivalries between schools and for driving friend against friend as they compete to create the most accurate bracket.
For those uninterested in basketball, March Madness may seem like a trivial competition that causes undue stress and anxiety. However, those interested in the tournament find themselves utterly devoted to the event.
“I think it’s very competitive because a lot of people stake pride on it,” said junior Kolya Souvorin.
There’s a wide variety of reasons why people compete in March Madness. However, one main reason is financial motivation.
“So [the] group that [I’m] in, the number of brackets that you put in is the amount of money that you will give the winner,” said junior William Gao. “So [my group has] 55 brackets, so if I win the bracket, then I get $55.”
In typical March Madness bracket polls, friends or coworkers will add as many brackets as they would like, pledging a dollar behind every bracket. The brackets are then automatically scored online to determine the winner of the bracket polls.
Although for some the competition of friend against friend is reason enough for some to create brackets, billionaire Warren Buffett added an additional incentive. Buffet has pledged one million dollars a year for life for any Berkshire Hathaway that creates the perfect March Madness bracket. In fact, in 2014, Buffett pledged a full one billion dollars to anyone who created the perfect bracket.
“So there’s that sense of hope, kind of like the lottery,” said Souvorin. “You’re not just filling it out for basketball, you’re filling it out because you really want that million dollars that Warren Buffet’s offering. So it’s like, maybe you could beat the odds. There’s that sense of hope, combined with just watching good basketball.”
For the past years, AP Human teacher Brian Ely has assigned his students a March Madness themed project about city demographics with an interesting twist.
“So while the project really isn’t about basketball so much, there is the aspect of kind of staying in tune of what is going on in society, which the tournament is a big part of,” said Ely. “So because the students will randomly choose their schools, the offer is out there that whichever team wins it all, whoever has that school, the student’s grade will automatically be bumped up to a 100 regardless of what score her or she got on the project. It’s pure luck, and it only happens after the project has been turned in and presented.”
Although the gamble is likely to not be in the students favor, as only two out of the combined 132 mens and womens teams win the tournament, students like Kolya Souvorin play the odds about completing their project.
“I got Texas A&M who was knocked down in the round of 16,” said Souvorin. “So I had to do my project the night before, because they got knocked out the night before. But if they made it to the Final 8 then I probably just would’ve not done the project. So it was very hopeful, because I had to watch the games, and I was very interested in a school I would’ve never cared about, Texas A & M.”