THE ATHLETE AS
When I feel athletic, I go to a sports bar.
Each March, America is overcome by “madness.” Throughout the country, sports fans, both casual and hard-core, focus their attention on the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In bars and bakeries, at the dinner table and over phone lines, people catch the madness. Office pools are organized and parties are thrown as television screens everywhere are tuned to “the Big Dance, ” as teams from Boise to Bloomington; Athens, Georgia, to Athens, Ohio; and New York to New Mexico compete for the national championship. Over three consecutive weekends, the original field of sixty-four teams is whittled down to one, crowned NCAA National Champion the Monday evening following Final Four weekend.
Dubbed “March Madness” for the unpredictable nature of the contests as well as for its catchy commercial ring, it is the perfect television event. Longer than the Super Bowl's one-day, one-game extravaganza, shorter than the three-month marathons that are the NBA and the NHL playoffs, and more inclusive than the World Series, where only two cities are rep-