Editorial: March Madness is a microcosm of the American dream



Editorial Board

March Madness brackets aside, we all have a soft spot for the underdogs and the Cinderella stories. When 11-seed Loyola-Chicago made it to the Final Four, it was the story we were all waiting for. 

March Madness is all about every team having a chance. It’s why year after year we see upsets. No matter how much statistical analysis goes into seeding teams and picking who will win, there will always be teams that are underestimated. There will always be teams that might not have the highest caliber of talent or the biggest budgets, but they still beat the odds.

It’s no wonder it’s such a beloved event in America for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. You don’t have to watch the full season of college basketball to get into March Madness. The entire event is full of surprises and stories of beating the odds. The emotion, the determination, the sheer luck all come in to play.

Only .48 percent of fans who filled out a bracket on ESPN’s website picked Loyola-Chicago to make it to the Final Four. More than 17 million people filled out a bracket. Yet here is this underdog who defied the vast, vast majority of expectations. 

These Cinderella stories are so appealing because they’re a microcosm of the American dream. We want more than anything to believe that everyone has a chance. We want to believe that everyone has an opportunity to succeed. 

But like March Madness, only a few care about the underdogs until they find success. No one but the UMBC fan base cared about UMBC until they defeated overall No. 1-seed Virginia. Maybe we ought to care about the underdogs before then. 

March Madness is an inspiration. It’s about working together. It’s about the will to win. It’s about coming back after a tough loss. It’s about pushing through adversity. It’s everything Americans value.