I love being athletic, I love competition, but there is something about the expectation of the team that makes me completely freeze in my tracks.
In Pee Wee soccer I was always the fastest, the first one to the ball. Then, as legend had it, I would stop just short of the ball and look around, pretending that it wasn't my responsibility to kick it. I would stand there and wait for someone else to come kick it first.
I have always preferred individual sports, like swimming and hiking, where no one else's victory depends on my skill.
Playing basketball was nothing short of a disaster for me. I was a short, uncoordinated middle-schooler — and no coach wanted me to play. When we were far enough ahead on the scoreboard with no chance of losing, the coach would finally put me in the game. I was in position and someone actually passed the ball to me. It was my time to shine! As I carefully dribbled the ball towards the opposing team's basket, I could hear the crowd going wild.
Had I actually listened to what they were shouting, I would have heard: "NO! STOP LIZ! TURN AROUND! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!"
But in that moment I knew I was doing something amazing. I scored a point for the other team, and was immediately taken out of the game. And while the memory of that still stings, there is one form of vindication: March Madness.
I am currently leading in my bracket pool. I am No. 1. I am the best fake basketball competitor in the land. But even if I am not victorious with my bracket picks in the end, I will still enjoy the drama of it all.
March Madness combines my love for primal human drama and physical skill. I adore watching the college athletes give it everything they have. I like the structure of the tournament, where Cinderella teams can break from behind and win it all. And my heart breaks for every team that loses and for all the kids who will never play basketball again. It is the sweetest agony to even pick winners in a tournament where you wish everyone could win.
Not only is March Madness just plain fun to watch, it's the perfect level of participation for those who love team sports, but shouldn't be allowed on the court.
Read more Liz Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists.