Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness

As you may know, today is the start of four days of back-to-back college basketball games, as the annual NCAA playoffs get under way. 65 teams start the competition and by the end of this weekend, they will have eliminated 29 of them, leaving the "Sweet Sixteen" to fight it out next week to reveal the Elite Eight and ultimately, the Final Four.

I was amused to see that a bookstore on Queen Street West had this clever display in their front window. I even went in to ask how their chart works, as I thought maybe they were going to track sales of the various books listed on the chart during the tournament, but apparently it's just for show. The owner admitted he was quite surprised at the number of people who had come in to ask about the display.

I don't follow basketball and I certainly don't know anything about the U.S. college teams but it is a big deal for our friends south of the border. Intensive TV coverage, lots of betting going on, that sort of thing. Here's a fun fact: did you know that there are 50% more vasectomies scheduled for this week than any other week of the year? (no, I am not making this up!) Presumably, it's a good excuse for the guys in question to spend the next four days lying on the couch watching basketball while they recuperate.
I have often wondered if the phrase "March madness" (a registered trademark of the NCAA) has any connection to the expression, "mad as a March hare". Of course, many of us are familiar with the March Hare as one of the characters in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." What you may not know is that the expression in question originated in England and is used to describe the unusual antics of said rabbit this time of year. According to the Wikipedia explanation, "a long-held view is that the hare will behave strangely and excitedly throughout its breeding season, which in Europe is the month of March (but which in fact extends over several months beyond March). This odd behaviour includes: boxing at other hares, jumping vertically for seemingly no reason and generally displaying abnormal behaviour."

Hmm, abnormal behavior and vertical jumping - perhaps there is a connection after all? :)

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