Less than twenty per cent of the 351 Division I colleges and universities get invited to the NCAA tournament each year. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t proceed with the March Madness activities and events suggested in “Forget the Activity Calendar. . . ACT NOW!” [http://wp.me/pCemc-j8] if your favorite team wasn’t selected. This article includes five additional methods to tie into the excitement created by college hoops at this time of year.
♥ If you live in West Virginia, you might want to switch your focus to the National Invitation Tournament (“NIT”), which includes 32 additional teams and concludes with the final games played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi and Vermont join West Virginia as additional states represented in the NIT that were excluded from the original 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
♥ There are 32 Conferences included in the NCAA Tournament. Determine what conference that your local school belongs to and then your residents can cheer for (or against → in some cases fans will root for “my school or whoever plays ABC University!”) the Conference Champion who is at the Big Dance. Frequently these teams from the smaller conference – who only get an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament – become the Cinderella team of the tournament. Will their trip end after one game or will they go “deep into the tournament”?
Even if this doesn’t apply to your local team, let your residents pick a Cinderella team from one of the non-major conferences and support them in the tournament.
♥ There are 14 different sites where the tournament games will be played over the next 3 weeks, including Dayton, OH for the four “play-in” games on March 18 & 19. Even though there are no Indiana schools in the tournament, Indianapolis will be the location of the Midwest Regional Finals on March 28 – 30. If you are near one of these locations, there should be a lot of local press in newspapers, TV, etc. that you can tie into. You don’t have to do a full “Bracketology”, but have fun by picking the winners in the local games. Set up pools for a) largest margin of victory, b) total margin of victory (all games), c) number of overtime games, etc. Vote for favorite coach and/or player. If you’re into social media, sponsor that person online.
♥ If your local team’s season is over, contact the Athletic Department and request a visit from someone on the coaching staff and/or the Cheer Squad. Explain what you are doing to involve your aging adult residents and ask them to participate in your “life-long-learning” series by presenting a 15 – 20 presentation on how the tournaments work, etc. Tell them that you know how hard they work and that your residents want to recognize their achievements in this season as you wish them more success in the future. Build the foundation for an on-going, inter-generational relationship with the school. Consider the residents’ excitement to have the Cheer Squad do a couple of routines for them in your building and maybe have the mascot speak.
If you really want to “think outside of the box”, work with the Athletic Department to create several special awards that could be presented in a ceremony at your community (e.g. Above and Beyond, All-Around Excellence, Rising Star, Leadership/Citizenship, etc.→ contact me directly for more ideas and help in implementation). This is another great way to generate “free press” and present your community in a very positive fashion.
♥ Finally, there are another 64 teams in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Because of the preponderance of females in our resident populations, this may offer a particularly attractive alternative for celebrating March Madness, which will be addressed in a subsequent article.
The important thing is to DO SOMETHING! Don’t be a slave to your published activity calendar and miss this opportunity to improve the interactive lifestyle of your residents.