The Madness

Mark DeLap
Posted 3/30/22

A weekly column by Mark DeLap

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The Madness


The first two weekends of the madness is in the books and as quickly as it came, it is quickly coming to an end. If it reminds us of anything, it is that life itself can be so unpredictable.

All the study, pouring over stat sheets, looking at the opinions of others, and submitting our predictions with great anticipation and confidence. Man, just the bantering with FFA teacher Brice McIntosh had me worn out before the thing even started.

The final four comes and it’s never what we could have conceived or imagined. At best, we got some things right, we get some things wrong, we pick up the pieces and sprint to the next round, hoping that everyone else had the same results.

Life is a series of questions and opinions. Only when the outcome comes forth can we be assured that we must either adjust to the winds that are blowing, or try to stand upon our own stubborn convictions.

And so it is with our own lives, things both great and small.

The weekend has come and gone. The brackets have been busted. Do we blame or do we adjust? It is said, blessed is the man who can laugh at himself for he shall always be entertained.

This year for some reason, the bracket brought back memories. Perhaps it’s because I feel a million miles from family and miss my kids. But back then, with all my kids playing ball, me coaching, the approach of spring in Michigan and me marking another year older on the birth chart – it was most likely one of the fullest and most fun months of the year.

Tyler was playing at Alma college, his soon to be fiance’, Sara also playing at Alma College, Troy playing varsity at Greenville High School, Seth playing freshman basketball at Greenville and me coaching at Ionia High school. Three different cities, each playing/coaching over 20-game schedules not to mention the scouting I was doing and all of us trying to maintain the master schedule and making sure nobody starved or slipped through the cracks.

When all my sons were at home, we always had a family bracket.

And NCAA tournament time was like replacing our schedules with a whole new set of frustrations. All sitting around the television, changing channels to catch all the action, shouts of madness to the refs that couldn’t hear us to leaps and jumps and hugs over last second shots gone in. Or gone home.

For our bracket, each person had to chip in $10. The winner got the cash. To kids, THAT kind of money in our house was serious. And I went a step further. I ordered two trophies. One the DeLap family tournament champion and the second called the “toilet bowl” trophy for the one who had the lowest score in the tournament. I won a few of those in my time.

On final four night I’d grill steaks and we’d chose sides if we were out of it, and wear the colors of our team if we were still in the hunt for the championship.

Somehow the house is way too silent this year, but make no mistake, I will be grilling a steak even though I no longer have a stake in this year’s final four. For me, it’s not just excitement of the current year even though my Wisconsin Badgers bowed out way too early. The good news is I still have Villanova to pull me out of the toilet with championship points.

For me… it’s the memories. That’s when I look up to heaven and say… “yeah. You did that for me.”

He gives us memories for our old age.

This year’s Cinderella was a peacock. Don’t tell me you picked them because not even the students at St. Peter picked them.