I Love March Madness
– by K. Allison Wickens
It’s spring time, and for me that means that the Cherry Blossoms come into bloom here in Washington, DC, the tourists are thicker than normal at the museums and historic sites, and there’s lots of NCAA tournament basketball on TV.
In my college days, you could not have separated me from my basketball watching this time of year. Attention to anything else dimmed for about 3 weeks. I had my favorite team (hate me if you want, it was Duke) and my favorite players, coaches, and rituals. I looked to my own basketball teammates to share in this community endeavor. We’d settle in for 12 hours straight of cheering on our teams, even when they differed, and really just hoping for exciting games throughout. We had each other’s backs on the court and off. I could rely on this cohort, not only during practice and games, but in classes, around the dorms, and…in front of the TV during March Madness.
Twenty Years Later, I have a different team. The folks on it still have my back. They keep me in check in my professional endeavors and I can rely on them for great ideas and feedback when I’m out on the court of historical interpretation. It’s my SHA class of 2012. Although we don’t get to see each other every night at practice, like my basketball college teammates did, I feel as close to them as I did that group before. I hear their sage advice in my head when I take a risk at work and look for support from individuals when I need advice. The intense time together for 3 weeks 3 years ago built as strong a bond as years together on the basketball court did for me in college.
Now, every March, when the games come back on inviting me to participate in marathon viewing, I only tune in and out when it’s convenient. I get much more excited to cheer on history in action every day at my job than I ever did cheering on my favorite basketball team. This go around, my teammates are sitting right by me on my virtual couch. We may differ in some of our interpretive methods and cheer for opposing historical figures (sorry Rachel—GW is sooo much better that TJ), but we know that, in truth, we are all on an awesome team together. Go SHA Class of 2012!!!