Something dies when you grow older, but you do the best you can. -Jesse Lacey
Romance tends to be beaten out of us by the time we grow old or even middle aged. The dreams of youth are replaced by mortgages, student loans, and a 40 hour work week that frequently grows longer. Settling in to life means that all the grand hope that came with being young is surrendered to attempting to just get by on most days. February is the month God set aside to remind us of these unassailable facts.
This is especially true in sports. Tony Fernandez kicks an easy grounder, Ernest Byner runs into the end zone without the football, Anthony Myles fouls out, and Tu Holloway cries on the bench. As we get older we realize that our teams most likely aren't going to win. Maybe Vontaze Burfict is going to spear someone, or maybe we're going to draft Johnny Manziel, but something is going to happen and we aren't going to win it.
March isn't like that. Tennyson said that spring turned a young man's thoughts to love, but that's only because basketball hadn't been invented yet. In March, we all get a little bit younger and a little more optimistic. The bracket comes out and, no matter how you cut it, only six games stand between us and the championship. Sure, there are 67 other names on other lines, but the wind is blowing in through open windows, there's some sun piercing the last of the February gloom, and it seems like maybe this year, whatever year it is, is the year.
Xavier tips off in about five hours on yet another venture into March. It seems like this year, 2016, could be The Year. The team is loaded with talent, the coach is the Henry Iba Award winner, and the team still carries some of that Xavier magic that inhabited the days back when the Musketeers were the underdogs. Edmond Sumner is young and, somehow, still unafraid. Big Game James is playing with a ferocity and rebounding ability unmatched in the country. Jalen Reynolds can still take games over, Remy Abell is a lockdown defender, and Myles Davis is whatever the team needs. That's not even mentioning JP, LAJ, the human pogo stick that is Kaiser Gates, or Xavier's barroom brawler, Sean O'Mara.
So, be young again this March, it's the month God made for it. Sometimes Didier Drogba slams a header past Manuel Neuer against all odds, sometimes BJ Raymond buries a three pointer on a cross court pass no one saw coming, sometimes Jason Giambi's creaky back launches one more ball into a late night sky, sometimes the magic happens, and sometimes it happen to our teams, to us. Once upon a time, Lenny Brown danced in front of Bob Huggins. Remember that, and welcome to March, where it's ok to be that kid that believes again.