It’s that wonderful time of the year again. What’s so wonderful about gloomy skies and constantly lower than anticipated temperatures day-in and day-out, you ask? College basketball and March Madness. The time of year everyone seemingly becomes a college basketball expert in a matter of minutes and others pledge their allegiance to a school they’ve been a fan of “since they can remember” is upon us, and we’re right in the thick of it.
Attending a Division III school and technically not having a team to root for in the tournament creates an interesting dynamic, though. We live in a state that sent three teams to the NCAA tournament this year, but none of us actually attend those schools. So is it acceptable to cheer on a school you don’t go to, don’t pay tuition to, and maybe never even had any desire to attend?
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable. I grew up 15 minutes away from the University of Michigan for the vast majority of my life, so, needless to say, I grew up a die-hard Michigan Wolverine fan. I went to countless football, basketball, hockey and soccer games as a kid and I always wanted to attend the University of Michigan, but I chose to attend a different college when it came down to decision time.
The way I see it, we have the best of both worlds at Albion. Being such a small campus and such a tight-knit community, we get to cheer for some of our best friends on the field and on the court. We’re much more connected with the athletes that represent our school than many of the students that attend large Division I institutions.
Don’t get me wrong, many students at Division I schools are extremely passionate about their athletic programs, but how many of them have the opportunity to wait around after a game and give their friends a high-five after a thrilling overtime victory, or, on the contrary, give them a hug after a crushing loss? My guess would be not many.
While we may not have the crazy tailgating experiences that bigger schools provide their students before home football games, we do get to celebrate with all of the athletes we know personally here on campus after our games. And, after our Albion athletic competitions are over, we can still sit down and watch the Division I athletes from our favorite programs compete.
Tonight, there’s no doubt you can find me planted in front of a TV at 7:15, cheering on the maize and blue as they look to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in as many years, but you can also be damn sure I’ll be cheering on the Albion men’s and women’s lacrosse teams even harder tomorrow afternoon.
I’ll forever say go blue. But more importantly, go Brits.
Photo via Flickr