I have a wish that the greatest worry facing America today would be whether Indiana, Maryland, Kansas or Oklahoma make it back to the Final Four.
My money is on Maryland and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this country has more pressing concerns right now.
But as war approaches, it's comforting to know we have a relief valve in the form of the NCAA basketball tournament to fall back on.
Of course, we need the games. Now more than ever.
The games should go on because not playing them would go against a way of life as we know it.
True, sports are only fun and games. They're a way of life for some, but taken in their proper context, they can be an important release from the seriousness of an impending war.
We need the excitement of college basketball the way we need fresh air and water to sustain us.
The mayhem and destruction resulting from war is a frightening reality. There's no getting around the fact that a lot of innocent people could die very soon.
Sports are a necessary diversion - especially right now. Sports help us to cherish the good times while we try to forget the bad.
Sports tug at our emotions. Sports can make us happy or angry - sometimes both emotions occur within a span of seconds - but never indifferent.
Sports can be a lightning rod for conversation as well as controversy. From the NCAA Tournament to Opening Day in baseball to the upcoming playoffs in the NBA and NHL, sports are always a hot-button topic.
Sports fans care passionately about their favorite players and teams. Even if they graduated from college 30 years ago, they make it a point to drop everything they're doing and watch March Madness on television.
No one should ignore the war. That's ridiculous. It will impact on each and every one of us.
Someone that we know either directly or indirectly will have their lives changed because they enlisted in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force or a reserve unit. We should continue to support our men and women in the military.
But everyone should also make time for enjoying themselves. Life can't be all gloom and doom.
President Bush told Americans after the Sept. 11 tragedy that the country preparing for war shouldn't prevent its citizens from going on with their lives.
Now is the time for sports to go on uninterrupted.
I fully expect the NCAA Tournament to play its role wonderfully.
The unrehearsed drama of the games has an intoxicating effect on college basketball junkies as well as casual hoop fans.
There's something about the pure excitement of the unknown - from Duke's Christian Laettner snagging a long pass and beating Kentucky on a last-second jumper to Hampton playing David to Iowa State's Goliath - that appeals to an emotion in all of us.
I'm not going to allow the threat of war to prevent me from watching the tournament. I'm looking forward to March Madness. I realize the games could be postponed at any time because of security issues.
While our government readies the country for an uncertain future, be sure to enjoy the games.
Make jump shots. Not war.
Don't we wish.
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