It's The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year

From The New York Times, why today is so important;

At a time when more than 4 million Americans have lost their jobs and a wobbly nuclear Pakistan is acting like a drunk with the car keys, why should anyone care whether the Zags beat the Zips on Thursday? Or, for that matter, why should the fate of Robert Morris and Stephen F. Austin — colleges? or WASP fashion labels? — concern a country at the depth of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression?

The answer: in troubled times, more than ever, our nation turns its lonely eyes to the best national diversion we have – the annual men’s college basketball tournament. All cultures have something like this: the Irish and their hurling, the Italians and soccer, the Aztecs and ritual sacrifice.

March Madness is our greatest sideshow, mood-lifter and time-suck all in one. It’s sports at its most thrilling, more so than the slow choreography of baseball’s World Series, the bloated spectacle of the Super Bowl or the go-through-the-motions slog of professional basketball playoffs.

And forget about college football, now facing the possibility of its championship system being determined by Congress. There, a mythical “national title” is conferred on a team that gets the highest ratings in a bowl sponsored by a company now in receivership.

Give me the clean, no-excuse trials of the young hoopsters. Hilltoppers and Huskies, Owls and Orangemen, Sun Devils and Blue Devils (the Satan subset) — starting today, one of 64 teams will emerge champion, with no dispute. Lose a game, you’re gone. Win six in a row, you’re King of the World.

Hopefully, you can get out of work or school today to watch the afternoon games. (The cool teachers always let their kids watch the afternoon games.) If not, take a long lunch to watch the first half of the noon tip offs. You're an American. Watching college kids play basketball while you pretend to be working is your patriotic duty.

This is also your last chance to sign up for the the Second Annual Alligator Army Tournament Pick'em Sponsored by Armagnets. Armagnets are licensed magnetic vinyl signs. When displayed on your car door it appears that YOU are running the rock for the Gators!!

To play, go to Yahoo Sports and enter group ID: 21861 and password: army.

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