Thank God for the Madness


Aoife Gish

Students watch the Men’s March Madness tournament during break.

As I stepped outside into the brisk March air, I couldn’t help but feel excitement. March is a time of excitement particularly due to the annual NCAA Men’s basketball tournament known as March Madness.

Typically a spring-break stream, March Madness has quickly taken a hold of Jesuit. As I walked into media class on Monday, everyone in class was chatting about making a bracket. Of course, students are not permitted to bet money on the tournament, although the track sprinters have created a fun way to get to know each other and have some friendly competition. Composed of veteran seniors and freshman rookies the sprinters on the Jesuit Track team needed a fast way to bond after the first meet of the season.

An online bracket was created so that elders and freshies alike can create their own bracket. The punishment? Run an 800 race. Now, every day when there are March Madness games, “how’s your bracket doing?” is often an incredible conversation starter. Track team dinners are often filled with checking brackets, showing aggravation when an upset occurs or thrill when a 14th seeded team beats a 4th seeded squad. March Madness provides the senior team captain a chance to relate to the freshman through a lighthearted competition.

“Jesuit often has a really competitive environment that can sometimes cause stress, but the track team’s March Madness bet was a fun and stress free competition to bring the team closer together” sophomore sprinter Cameron Gaitlin said.

March Madness is not limited to the media classroom or athletics. March Madness has reached the broad range of people at Jesuit.

For instance, senior Alexander Rask speaks of his dedication to the tournament by his spring break travel plans.

“I am going to Las Vegas to watch a March Madness game over break,” Rask said.

Now streamed on the big screen at break time in the CLARC and the Holman Family Student Union, the popularity of the Madness tournament has increased over the years. One particular day at break during the first day of March Madness games, I noticed the basketball star pulling up a chair next to the tech theater phenom, or the journalist having a healthy debate with the soccer stud.

Grabbing chairs and all bunching in the corner of the CLARC, eager to see if their chosen team was about to win.

Another incredible aspect of March madness for both men’s and women’s college basketball is how students made brackets for both gendered tournaments. A typical topic of conversation between a male counterpart and I is “which bracket?” when asked about their bracket because they said they made a men’s and Women’s one. Not to mention the rise in popularity of watching Women’s basketball on screen with the Iowa vs. South Carolina game reaching 6.6 million streams, more than any other ESPN basketball match in 15 years. Specifically Iowa’s star Caitlin Clark who won National Player of the Year has gained lots of traction from basketball fans.

Chaos to some, I see the Jesuit community in March Madness. With friendly competition over bracket-choices on the line, the tournament evokes a range of emotions for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. There is nothing quite like March Madness at Jesuit High school.