A whole new language arises during the month of March in the house of a college basketball coach.
We use words like “seed” and “bracket” in daily conversation, but even more curious, in my house at least, is the way my husband begins to use the word, “March.”
In the midst of a tight game on TV, Saul will yell out things like, “It’s getting awfully Marchy in here!” or “It smells like March!”
I’ve even heard him say, “I’m feeling Marchy.” That one makes me a little nervous.
It’s sort of like living in a land of Smurfs. It’s Smurftastic!
Only sometimes March isn’t Smurftastic. Sometimes it’s edgy and tense and filled with a roller coaster of emotions that take you up and down, up and down.
That’s what makes March so Marchy. And it happens to every coach’s wife out there.
We all get a little jittery, a little too tuned into ourselves and our team.
The wives of the basketball staff at South Dakota State have found a way to combat these symptoms. Between the eight women, they have 10 kids, two babies on the way, and more than 30 years of combined March Madness experience.
Alicia Henderson is one of those coaches’ wives. In an effort to have some fun and keep the games in perspective, she and the other wives have put an interesting spin on March.
“Our staff here at SDSU has decided to start something fun in the month of March to get people excited about the tournaments, March Madness, and the Final Four.
For my birthday in December, I started a totally fun tradition two years ago of picking up a friend or two and driving through a couple of drive thrus and paying it forward by paying for the car behind us! Alison and Erin (the head coach’s wife and director of operations’ wife) joined me this year.
Fast forward to Feb. 14. Alison stopped at Starbucks to pick up Valentine cookies for her twins’ preschool teachers. Someone had left $15 for the next customer to use and that person was Alison!
She texted me after and questioned whether I had just been at Starbucks and left the money. It wasn’t me, but it got us thinking about doing something fun with our staff to build a little camaraderie going into tournament time.
An initial thought was to do a group dinner and pay for the table next to us, but immediately it turned to ‘let’s get as many people as we can to join us in spreading kindness’ and March Kindness became that thing.
We had a road game and the staff wives got together to watch, and we told them our idea. From there the fun really began. Everyone from the coaches’ wives to our radio guy’s wife to our trainer’s girlfriend was super excited and totally on board!
So literally a complete stranger did a random act of kindness at a Starbucks in Brookings, S.D., and a group of women (who I think are pretty amazing and have been there for me during the tough days of this crazy profession) embraced the idea of spreading kindness during a stressful/busy tournament time!
We have been doing random acts almost daily. Our only hope is that this will continue to spread and become a yearly tradition each March, no matter our paths in this crazy coaching world!”
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.