The Thursday afternoon that the tournament starts is one of the times that I love that the kids aren’t in school. Tip-off 12:20, pick your seat, grab the snacks. I’ll go to the mat defending this experience as education-though I don’t count it since Thurs. and Fri. are our typical weekends. This is the type of 3-D, real-world, delight-driven learning that grows the brain. Handwriting, spelling, reading, math (what are the odds of Robert Morris winning the tournament, what’s the score-how many does RMU need to tie it up?) social studies, (wonder how Chief Kicking Stallion Sims got his name), physiology, language arts in its most applied, authentic form, all integrated naturally by the conversations that go along with it and topped off by the more frequent trips to the driveway hoop during time-outs and half times. Mind you, I don’t instigate or hijack any of the above naturally occurring “educational” moments, they happen spontaneously and usually without any input from me. I would never ruin the experience by trying to schoolify the tournament, I’m just saying they’re learning.
Admittedly, I don’t have much wisdom to offer to the chatter and pontificating since I don’t follow basketball all season but I love to listen to the conversations. I’m telling you, neurons are firing and brains are growing because its relevant. Maybe not relevant to the world-at-large, but March Madness is relevant to our world for the next 2 weekends and I’m grateful for the tradition.