In Chicago winter lingers well into March, like a house guest unaware that she’s worn out her welcome. But some of us hardly notice; we’re mesmerized by the NCAA basketball tournament involving 65 teams from Division I schools.
What makes this tournament so entertaining and engrossing? Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, thinks that people tend to identify with sports teams to make up for the loss of community and sense of larger meaning. If Blaise Pascal were around, he’d likely say we are diverting ourselves from the cares of this world and from the final reality—death. An anthropologist would say there’s something tribalistic going on: it’s my team against yours.