A Catholic’s Guide to March Madness

Before any of the Catholic basketball teams are eliminated from the tournament, this short piece posted at Crux is well worth reading.  It offers a description of each of the Catholic teams in the tournament as well as a thumbnail history of their founding religious order.  My favorite part of the article is speculation on not whether each team will win, but rather how the charism of the school might influence play.  My favorite quote:

“Gonzaga is named after Aloysius Gonzaga, who gave up great wealth to join the Jesuits and died soon afterward while caring for the poor. This desire for finding spiritual wealth in material poverty might also be linked with St. John’s University’s Vincentienne Fathers, and their allegiance to St. Vincent de Paul. A game between St. John’s and Gonzaga might result in an overflowing of generosity as each team passed the ball to the other in a nod to their histories.”

Update: If you play Kahoot with your students, I’ve created one entitled: March Madness 2015 Catholic Mascots.  

Update #2: The author of the above article has updated his thoughts about the Catholic teams after the first weekend of the tournament. 

March Madness at School, Eight Apps to Follow It & Other Brackets to Play

OK. I really, really enjoy March Madness.  The four days starting yesterday are some of the most exciting and intense sporting days on the entire calendar.  Numerous concurrent match-ups, close & thrilling games with surprise upsets, and a national mania about “bracketology” unmatched by any other event.

Yes, productivity plunges during this time as office workers and high school students alike sneak glances (or entire class periods) to view scores and find out how their personal bracket is holding up.  Yesterday afternoon, a student passed me in the hall and enthusiastically let me know “UAB is winning!”  I’m not so familiar with the tournament that I could immediately know that he meant Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham (14 seed) was on the verge of upsetting Iowa State ( 3 seed).

Do I think schools should do everything possible to keep students away from getting info on March Madness during these unique school days?  No, because even though we block ESPN.com on the students’ iPads, there are no shortage of other ways for them learn scores and even “live cast” games.  Nor do I take the other perspective and think teachers should incorporate it into their lesson planning.

I think it’s a diversionary, fleeting moment of fun which only comes around once a year.  And besides, it helps break up a long, still-chilly month about which Garrison Keillor once said: “March is the month that God designed to show those who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”

And yes, if you want to follow the Madness with your devices (instead of jumping on a browser), here’s the link to the list provided by Time.

OVERTIME: If you don’t like NCAA Men’s Basketball, but you do like brackets, here’s a couple of other options underway:

Saints Madness 2015

Build-a-Bear Bracket Challenge

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UPDATE: Here’s one more interesting bracket that I found in the Washington Post.  It takes common pairs, e.g. peanut butter and jelly and splits them up on either side of the bracket.  The idea is we’ll see which one makes it furthest and is therefore the most important of the two.