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VIVA LA UNDERDOG!
Ahhh, I love it. It is why we go Mad in March. It is why the famous World Cup-predicting Paul the Octopus (if he were still alive and wiggling those eight appendages) would have lost an arm and his ink in excitement. Let's review, shall we ...
• VCU needed to win a play-in with USC to even get into the tournament, and now look at the squad -- hanging out with the big dog Jayhawks in the Southwest bracket. If the previous rounds are any indication, college teams apparently are not providing enough of a challenge. The Rams will be asking for the San Antonio Spurs next.
(Speaking of the Southwest bracket, no team seeded 2-9 made it to the Sweet 16.)
• No one thought Butler could repeat the Cinderella run of last year, but so far there's been no stopping the Bulldogs. Maybe they still do have some of that magic tucked in their socks.
• The Big East brought a lot of noise into the tournament, but not much of it was directed Marquette's way. In fact, leading up to Selection Sunday, many questioned whether Marquette would even get into the tournament. Now the Golden Eagles are on a roll, upsetting another Big East team, Syracuse, to get to the Sweet 16.
• The women's brackets finally provided some upsets in the second round as well. No. 7 seed Louisville's win over No. 2 seed Xavier was the biggest surprise, given Xavier had been in such fine form (the Musketeers had won 19 in a row coming into that game, and 25 in a row on their home court, where the game was played).
I love the energy of the tournament, the last-second madness, the underdog-always-having-a-chance mentality. I love how teams are constantly defying odds, doubters and the status quo. Brilliant. But this March proved extra special. Not only do we have the Big Dance, we got to watch Anthony Robles dance on the mat as well. And since we are talking about defying the odds, well, look no further than this awesome video of him winning an NCAA wrestling title with one leg. And in the same weekend, we got to watch Charlie Davies in his first competitive soccer match since his near-fatal car accident in October f 2009. Not only did he play, he scored two goals for DC United.
So, if you ever find yourself in a place where you doubt if you can win, doubt if the team is ready, doubt if the group is good enough, think about Anthony. Think about Charlie. Think about VCU, or Butler. Think BIG. As someone wiser than me once said, "You have to believe to achieve." Others might have not believed in them, but I can assure you, these teams and individuals believed they could defy the naysayers.
And if you still don't believe, call on the spirit of Paul the Octopus and think ink. Paul would have chosen your mussel. I'll bet the next World Cup winner on it.