While the nation may be divided by facts, healthcare, civil rights, and damn near everything else, there’s one thing we can all agree on, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is an event to behold.
For three glorious weeks, the nation holds their breath for cinderella schools, buzzer beaters and heart-wrenching stories of the young men who put it all the line for a national championship. On Sunday, the CBS Selection Show will grant 68 schools an invitation to “The Big Dance.” Once the names are called, team managers will hustle to get uniforms prepared. The lower the seed the more jerseys you have to pack. Team videographers will slice and dice team footage—or maybe just chop it up on high tech digital editing equipment—so coaches can begin scouting and preparing a game plan for 3 opponents. The team’s initial challenger and then the winner of the other game in their “foursome.” Travel plans will need to be made, per diem accounted for, study hall tutors will be notified. Each player’s academic curriculum will be set by academic advisors so the involved athletes don’t fall behind in school work. For some, that means midterms, others, Spring Break. Lucky them.
What I’m trying to get at, is there are a lot of moving parts to play in this tournament. When the games begin on Tuesday, most of us will only play notice to the action on the court. We won’t think of the logistics that went into getting there. We won’t think of the year-long commitment so many unheralded contributors commit to helping each team get to this point. The fact is if one thing went wrong, this spool of thread could have come unraveled leading to a team out of hotel room, transportation or in violation of some unknown NCAA rule.
When it comes to relationships, too many times we only look at game footage. When there’s a fight, we only look at the argument, we don’t look at what led to the disagreement. When someone is unfaithful, we look at the action, but not what led to the infidelity. Each moment in our collective lives can either lead to something greater or send us in a downward spiral from which some couples never recover. To make relationships work, we need to look at every detail as if it were as significant as the night we said, “I Do.”
As we embark on our three-week journey together, think of the great UCLA Head Coach, John Wooden. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
On to the questions…
Dear Relationship Quarterback,
The MADNESS is here! Can you feel it. One Shining Moment, that cinderella team named after a person you’ve never heard of before. It’s all here. My question, how much college basketball can I watch in one day without getting in trouble.
Ready in Raleigh
I’m ready, you’re ready, we’re all ready for March Madness. The most wonderful time of the year. Outside of Thanksgiving, obviously. Having said that, how do you know you’ll be in trouble? Does she find watching 12 hours of non-stop basketball off-putting? Don’t worry, my wife too.
I’m not sure if you are working, a student, or waiting for that call back from the reality show of the greatest college basketball fans ever, but there’s nothing to stop you—i think—from watching the games during the morning. So take advantage get all your crazy fandom out that we all possess inside. Then, when it’s time to get together with your significant other, involver her in watching the games. Maybe invite her to join your tournament pool. Whatever game(s) you are watching engage her in conversation, whether it is about the school, the coaches, the students, famous alumni, etc. For instance, I went to the University of Arizona. Have I on several occasions mentioned Geraldo Rivera is a proud alum of U of A? You’re damn right I did. Each time I was met with a really, a head lean in and a “tell me more.”
You will be surprised how much can be accomplished by simply including your significant other in whatever you are doing. They want to be a part of your most passionate parts of your life, and by the sounds of it, this is one of them.
Just don’t forget to return the favor and show interest in something she’s passionate about. Details.
Dear Relationship Quarterback,
I’m in a pickle, my wife wants to have a barbecue at the house with close friends on April 1. That’s Final Four Saturday, is this an April Fool’s joke? Help!
Dumbfounded in Duluth
A barbecue in Minnesota in April, you guys are a lot braver than I. Outside of that, I see nothing wrong with this, whatsoever. I call this the Grand Slam. Your wife wants to have a barbecue, what’s the problem with making it a Final Four barbecue?! Have a great barbecue, and when the games come on, create some great party games that will make the television watching that much more enjoyable for all those who don’t find basketball entertaining. If drinking is your thing, there’s no reason to not insert some drinking games into the mix. If there are kids involved, make it a geography lesson.
You have a great opportunity to use your friends and loved ones to help make your wife a fan of basketball, if she isn’t already one.
Don’t mess it up.
The Relationship Quarterback
Submit your questions to The Relationship Quarterback via email to or in the comments, below. Watch this column weekly for answers.
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