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March. Madness.

It seems so simple, this business of putting a ball through a hoop. These guys try to get it in that goal and those guys try to get it in this goal. Easy enough.

Then you watch the first day of March Madness (The First Four nonsense doesn’t count. At all.) and you experience the rush of elation, the hope, the edge-of-your-seat nervousness and, if your team flames out unexpectedly, the depression. And then it’s not so simple.

It’s very, very exciting. You feel ecstatic when some school you’ve barely ever heard of (did anyone outside Kentucky know where Morehead State was?) upsets one of the giants. You flip out when a ball leaves a shooter’s hand, drops through the rim and the backboard lights up a split second later and it’s over. No matter how much the other team wants just one more chance — just a chance! — it’s done. Pause the replay for a minute — you’ll see pure joy and pure defeat in one frame.

Emotions run the gamut. Announcers lose their minds. Players remember these moments the rest of their lives. Fans go bonkers. And if it’s YOUR SCHOOL that’s making headlines and hitting buzzer beaters? Well that’s just glorious. If it’s your school that’s doing the losing, well, that’s just depressing.

Either way, you know you’ve done something today. You’ve remembered, cheered, gotten mad, chewed your nails, yelled at the tv, cheered with a crowd, slapped hands with strangers, ripped up your bracket, laughed, cried, watched that replay over and over — did you see that?!

And we get to do it all again tomorrow. Spectacular.


Should he have been kicked off?

BYU kicked one of the best players off their basketball team this week for violating the school’s honor code. (BYU is a Mormon school.) The honor code, among other things, says that students must live a “chaste and virtuous life.” In other other words, no pre-marital sex.

Brandon Davies admitted to having sex with his girlfriend. School officials held him to the honor code he agreed to abide by. Therefore, he’s off the team, and it has huge implications.

BYU was having a dream season, headed for a number one seed in the NCAA tournament and a run at the National Championship. Without Davies, it probably won’t happen. In fact, they lost their first game without him last night.

So here’s the question: should he have been kicked off? There’s been a knee-jerk reaction all across the country of “That’s a ridiculous rule, there’s no way he should be off the team.” As one guy put it today, though, whether or not you agree with the rule is irrelevant. He broke it and is suffering the clear consequences.

Read another guy today who said the school is being hypocritical by not showing him grace and allowing him to make a mistake. He has a point to a degree — I’m sure Davies isn’t the only one on his team having sex. He’s just the only one who got caught.

And there’s this — the honor code also forbids alcohol, coffee and tea. Wonder if they’d kick a guy off the team for stopping at a Starbucks one morning?

We can debate the reasonableness of the rule all you want (and it’s not as unreasonable as our secular society would have you think), but it really comes down to this: Davies knew the rule. He broke it. He got caught. He — and his teammates — are suffering the consequences.

Doing the wrong thing usually turns out the wrong way.