March has its share of dirty secrets and therefore is a month that can’t be trusted.
If we’re talking strictly about the weather, as we often are around here, that plays itself out in the false optimism found in turning the page from February. Yes, temperatures tend to get better in March. But first: It will crush your spirit by being both brutal and contrary to your expectations.
If we’re talking about sports, try this: March Madness, the phrase that has become associated with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, can hardly be contained by that single event. And the general sports madness that happens this time of year is not limited to March. It’s more of a late February to mid-April Madness (though admittedly that’s not as catchy).
But in case you have not yet felt it, please know: The madness has arrived. And like the winter that will neither end nor relent, it figures to be particularly intense this year.
Just this week we have: The state boys’ hockey tournament (starting Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center), the Big Ten wrestling championships (at Williams Arena), the Big Ten men’s hockey playoffs (at 3M Arena at Mariucci) and the WCHA women’s Final Faceoff (at Ridder Arena). That’s just locally.
The Gophers women’s basketball team will be in Indianapolis this week for the Big Ten tournament. The Gophers men’s basketball team has two huge games, including one at home Tuesday. And oh, by the way, the Wild, Timberwolves and Minnesota United are all playing regular-season games and the Twins are in spring training.
The weeks generally progress like this through March, with various escalating postseasons for high schools and college teams combined with meaningful pro games — including, just for fun, the Twins being scheduled to open at home March 28. That seems impossible at the moment; but give March a few weeks to change your mind.
And then: In case you haven’t heard, the part of March Madness that happens in April is coming. U.S. Bank Stadium, a little over a year after hosting the Super Bowl, has the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four on April 6 and 8.
The Wild and Wolves end their regular seasons right around then, and on April 13 Minnesota United will open its new home stadium at Allianz Field in St. Paul. You can catch your breath from all this by watching the Masters.
Maybe “Spring Convergence” is a better name for all this than March Madness?
But here’s the thing: It’s kind of great (most Minnesotan sentence ever?). It’s exhausting and unpredictable, even just for viewers. But things that are special get us out of routines and patterns, adding color to life.
A lot of amazing things are going to happen in the coming weeks. There will be unexpected heroes, buzzer-beaters, overtime thrillers and other unforgettable moments. We might even all get to become reacquainted with our neighbors if, as history suggests, it does ever get nice outside again.
And then it will all be over. By mid-April, it might be the Twins and … um, the Twins. We’ll wonder what just happened and PROBABLY wonder where all the snow went.
So for now, let’s try to embrace the madness (even if we don’t trust March).