The Road To The Final Four

Right now, I can tell you that one of these four teams is almost certainly going to win the NCAA Tournament, which begins in a few hours: Florida, Wichita State, Louisville, or Villanova. That’s what the stats suggest, and that’s what I believe.

But I’m still going to watch the games. They’ll play 63 games in the next three weeks, and I’ll watch at least part of almost every single one. Even the 1-vs-16 match-ups. Even the blowouts.

Even the games that involve Kansas.

Why?

Because moments will happen. Because upsets from out-of-nowhere schools like Florida Gulf Coast will happen. Because buzzer beaters will happen. Because heartbreak will happen.

And because the ride matters. We’re always so focused on the end result — that’s what this post is really about, but hang with me for a moment — but it’s the road there that we really care about. Everyone fills out a bracket and projects a final score, but does anyone really remember what the score of last year’s title game was? Or the year before that?

The end result is just that — a result. It’s a number, and it’s a fact for future edition of Trivial Pursuit.

But it’s the road there that we remember. It’s those experiences that shape everything we’ll see these next few weeks.

There’s a funny thing about this tournament, and about work in general: You’ve always got your eyes on the next step, but your thoughts on the final destination. Focus too much on one or the other, and you lose your way.

Anyway, back to basketball: Florida, Wichita State, Louisville, or Villanova is going to win this — I believe that. But there’s no need to skip ahead to the ending.

The Road To The Final Four is what I care about the most.

That photo at top comes via Flickr’s Nick Meador.