It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

In 1963, Edward Pola and George Wyle wrote a song titled, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The song highlighted all of the song writers’ favorite things about Christmas and is played in what seems to be every shopping mall across the country throughout the month of December.  My own memory of this song, from my childhood, was that my Dad would jokingly, or possibly seriously, sing this song to me when I was upset that I had to go back to school in the fall.  Personally, while I do love Christmas, it is tough to beat the middle of March.  Over the past several weeks, our cold and cloudy days have disappeared and have been replaced with warmer weather and a little bit of sunshine.  The leaves are slowly starting to come back on the trees and flowers will soon be blooming again. In addition to the weather changes, as an avid basketball fan, the NCAA tournament is my favorite sporting event of the year.  While in undergrad, I was blessed to be able to participate in a similar tournament at the Division II level and have many great memories with my teammates, friends and family.  There is something special about the intensity and passion in this tournament, as the vast majority of the players will not be playing professionally and know this will be their last time representing their school and playing at such a high level.  Additionally, the bracket challenges that take place across the country make the tournament interesting to even a casual basketball fan, as people want to see the teams they picked advance. Another aspect that should make this year exciting is the impact this region has and will have on the tournament.  In Pittsburgh, CONSOL Energy Center hosted first and second round games, which featured my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, advancing to the Sweet 16.  In Columbus, the West Virginia Mountaineers beat the University of Buffalo and University of Maryland and, in the next round, matchup with the undefeated and number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats.  Personally, I think the Mountaineers’ aggressive full court press combined with their depth, size and athleticism will give Kentucky one of their most difficult challenges of the season.  Furthermore, Ohio has been represented well in this tournament.  Ohio State, Cincinnati and Dayton all advanced to the round of 32 before losing.  Moreover, Xavier has yet to lose and will play Arizona in their next game. Every time of year has something that makes it different and special and, for the next several weeks, I plan on getting outside, enjoying the beautiful weather and watching some of the NCAA tournament.