Selection Sunday memories serve as microcosm for life

During high school I was a firm proponent of making the Sunday of the NCAA Division I tournament’s selection show a national holiday.

In fact, I think it should be to this very day. The second weekend in March has always had a special place in my heart.

In high school, friends would set up camp in my basement early in the afternoon. We’d play pool, draw up our No.1 seeds on a chalkboard and create our own brackets before the experts did, all the while inhaling pizza after pizza.

We were bracketologists long before Joe Lunardi coined the term.

The event became tradition – a tradition that felt like it ended prematurely when we all went off to continue our education.

However, after a few years at Gannon, history repeated itself as similar rituals with my college friends suffered the same fate.

As our schedules became unpredictable and our lives more hectic, we were able to put less and less time into Selection Sunday. Despite the hustle and bustle, a group of us would carve out an hour of our time to watch the selection show no matter what.

But the end of that tradition came Sunday when I watched the unveiling of the brackets at work and not in my friend’s room.

Throughout my college career, one in which I put in more work than play, I’ve been buoyed by the thought that those Sundays in my basement – and other occasions like it – would eventually come again. That I would somehow revisit those carefree days after I completed college.

Unfortunately, I have lately come to the much sadder realization that I’ll, in fact, never see those days again.

Those moments of high school or college that I thought would once again be attainable have turned out to be nothing but wisps of tales from my youth.

With their exhibits having been recently completed in my memory’s museum, there’s little chance I’ll interact with them one last time.

With graduation looming and the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter by the day, I can’t help but feel as though I left some of the best times slip away without realizing how great they actually were.

As the calendar inches its way to May 5, it’s become clear that I’m wrapping up my life’s last scene in Act I – not revisiting the start.

Contrary to what I once believed, a move to different responsibilities doesn’t mean the subtraction of any.

By now, I’ve been introduced to my life’s players, the inciting moments have occurred and the rising action is all set to begin.

Although Gustav Freytag’s dramatic structure lays out Shakespearean plays to a tee, it isn’t going to help me navigate a plot that has yet to be written.

So May 6, the day after graduation, serves as the day that I start deciding how Act II of my life’s play will begin.

Now that’s what I call a Selection Sunday.

 

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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