When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was ABC's Wide World of Sports. Each week the show would recap sporting events from around the world. In the dark ages before the internet it was the only way for a young sports fan in Ohio to know that sports like downhill skiing, water polo and Greco-Roman wrestling existed in non-Olympic years. But my favorite part of the show was hearing announcer Jim McKay saying "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" during the opening montage of sports highlights.
I think that within the March Book Madness community there will be plenty of victorious cheers mixed in with plenty of defeated groans tomorrow. I know there will be some angst-driven howls coming from my own students. One of the great things about being behind the scenes here at March Book Madness is that I have seen the results piling up all week long. For me and some of my students there will be sadness tomorrow (unless a miracle happened in the final stages of voting today).
While scanning some of the results last night, I started texting Scott Jones, who set up this week's voting forms for March Book Madness. Part of our thread looked like this:
"Really?!?!? xxxxxxx is not going to win?!?!"
"I know, there are some surprising results so far."
"I am SHOCKED!"
Personal investment in books is one thing that binds us all in the March Madness Community. If we weren't excited about the stories we love and helping students find that passion, we wouldn't have signed up for this event. And we definitely wouldn't be creating giant hallway brackets, maxing out our library cards and tweeting out classroom pictures of kids joyfully reading March Book Madness Books. By my most recent count we have over 1,000 classrooms from nearly every state in the U.S.A (plus classrooms from seven other countries) participating in our 'little group.' My guess is that means there could be over 20,000 people tomorrow either jumping for joy or shaking their heads in disbelief.
So get excited and give a few fist-bumps or high-fives, but remember there will be some kids who need a pat on the back or a hug. Winning is wonderful, but losing does hurt. My hope is that while the agony of defeat may sting, the victorious thrill of being part of an amazing community of book lovers will win in the end.