When you hear the words “March Madness” in America, you think of one thing: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
This is a time starting the middle of the month full of buzzer-beaters, last-minute escapes, incredible upsets (UMBC over Virginia, Loyola-Chicago over just about everyone, George Mason making the Final Four, and the perhaps the biggest of them all, NC State over Houston for the championship) and “bracket busters” that leave ripped up pieces of paper on bar room floors all over the country.
It’s the most exciting time in American sports. The first weekend alone, the tournament goes from 64 teams to 16.
So yes, it’s madness and it’s in March.
But it’s hardly the only part of March that is madness. The month roars in like a lion and roars out like one, too.
That’s because March also has several annual major party events. Sometimes it’s the heart of Mardi Gras – Carnival of you prefer – almost always contains Fat Tuesday. There are two weeks of parades in New Orleans building up to the BIG DAY which is the true definition of Laissez les bons temps rouler, or “let the good times roll.”
The good times roll as often as the floats in the parades.
By the way, the oldest Mardi Gras celebration is couple hundred miles the east in Mobile, AL. Plus, several other cities either have their own parades and just about every bar in every location has a mini-Mardi Gras party.
On the 17th it’s St. Patrick’s Day! This is often a two-day party since most St. Patrick’s Day parades are on the Saturday before March 17. Several cities have parades, both large and small and, like Mardi Gras, never every bar is Irish for a day.
Like a wild beach party? Well, heck, March is the time for the colleges and universities Spring Break! This is a huge event lasting for several weeks at beaches across America: Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Panama City, South Padre Island and elsewhere.
Speaking of Daytona Beach, March is also Bike Week. It’s the Sturgis of the spring. And you don’t have to ride a hog around town to party because Daytona is also a Spring Break destination, a party vacation destination and a Southern redneck let-it-loose place, particularly in this month.
And if that is not enough, March is springtime in the USA and people in cold climates and jumping on the first flight out of there to go someplace warm. Beaches all over the country start to heat up in a preview of the good ‘ol summertime.
So yes, March is madness indeed. And March Madness is a lot more than the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.