If you aren't a college basketball fan, this can be a challenging week to live in Madison.
Coverage of the Badgers' Final Four berth is everywhere in local news. After Saturday night's game, State Street was flooded with fans -- if any more people had shown up, Frank Productions would have tried to sell tickets, à la Freakfest. Over the last two weeks, casual work discussions threatened to turn into a breakdown of brackets at any given moment.
For those of you who have not come down with March Madness, I sympathize. I have had to fake my way through so many conversations about basketball recently. Yesterday, I pretended to know stuff about Kentucky's defense for ten minutes on my morning bus commute. It was worth it -- good bus friends are hard to come by.
It stung a bit as Madisonians want to talk about last and this Saturday's game more than the Brewers' opening day. Baseball is the one sport I can really get into, as going to a Brewers game combines all of my loves: statistics, parking lot drinking and adorable pups.
Still, even if you feel like the only person in town who doesn't care about the Final Four, it is nothing to get worked up about.
I've seen a couple of my friends on Facebook post something like this: "If only people cared half as much about [academics, the NCAA's lack of athlete pay, the health of our lakes] as they did about the Badgers..."
That's a silly argument. No person spends all of their time caring about important things. Everyone wastes a ton of time. I've now blown two whole weekends on House of Cards and I'm not even sure if I like the show. I just took a break from writing this to go buy tickets for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so I wasted some time in the middle of writing something about wasting time. The fact that people choose to amuse themselves with things that aren't terribly amusing to you isn't worth complaining about.
For me, it is fun to sit back and watch so many people in Madison come together on something other than a referendum saying that weed should be legalized. We don't get that many chances to band together as a city, and we should appreciate the opportunities we do have.
If you really can't stand it, there are always other things to do in town. Last Saturday, during the Badgers' Elite Eight game, I went to go see the Mercury Players Theatre production of Xanadu. Full disclosure: my wife is a cast member and she is awesome in it. It was a packed house, and the audience was really into it. However, as soon as intermission hit, everyone busted out their cell phones.
They wanted to check the score of the game.