March Madness has become not only a permanent fixture and singularly exciting feature of American sports and culture, its popularity extends to hundreds of millions of basketball fans worldwide. The author, a former player for one of the most high-profile and successful college basketball programs in the United States, the Duke Blue Devils, also led teams at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities during his postgraduate academic career. In this revelatory paper he argues, that the much-ballyhooed craziness associated with America’s 68-team, single-elimination NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament actually pales in comparison to the utter insanity of its lesser-known British cousin, in which five matches are contested by each team over the course of just one-and-a-half days. Stamina is supposed to be an integral component of this sport. But what the Brits demand in this respect goes far beyond what is expected of America’s pampered college basketball thoroughbreds. Comparisons and contrasts drawn from first-hand experience between these two formats are illuminating; together they yield a new perspective on fundamental issues of identity—national, regional, local, and personal—and on the purity of athletic motivation in an era of heightened commercialization of sport.
|Keywords:||March Madness, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, BUSF Men’s Basketball Tournament, British Universities Sport Federation Basketball, Motivation in Sport, Stamina in Basketball, Achieving Identity in Sport|
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA