Top 10 emotions we all experience during March Madness

I hope you’re ready for this roller coaster of emotions

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1. Pure, unadulterated joy

The best way to describe a Virginia fan’s state of mind after a win is pure, unadulterated joy. We become dancers, screamers, cheerleaders and huggers in the face of Virginia success. We have a permanent smile plastered on our face, and the world seems to bleed orange and blue. With an upcoming tournament that’s bound to be a historic one for the Cavaliers — knock on wood — I hope you’re ready for lots of celebrating. 

2. Panic

Let’s all think back to the recent game against Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. Just remembering those last nine-tenths of a second makes my palms sweaty and my heart rate speed up. I thought it was all over when Mamadi Diakite committed that lane violation, but somehow De’Andre Hunter pulled it together and made that iconic three-point buzzer beater. If something like that game happens during the NCAA Tournament, I will probably die from a heart attack, but unfortunately there is no way to avoid the inevitable feeling of panic when silly mistakes start being made. There’s so much more at stake during this tournament because we have a fighting chance and Coach Tony Bennett has never led his team to the Final Four. RIP me because this is going to be one long month for my weak nerves. 

3. Muditā (Sanskrit) 

You know that feeling when you see someone succeed and it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling too? That’s basically what muditā means. It describes the strange phenomenon of a huge group of people getting excited over people that they’ve never met winning a game that they didn’t attend. It’s kind of like the opposite of second-hand embarrassment where instead of someone doing something terrible and you feel bad, someone does something awesome and you feel happy too. Humans are crazy, and I am ready for lots of muditā this month.  

4. Love

There are so many things to love about Virginia basketball. The pace they maintain, the intense camaraderie and especially Tony Bennett. Where would we be without him? Grounds wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful, that’s for sure. I don’t think we’d be winning nearly as much either. He’s done an amazing job with a team that was originally glanced over during the pre-season. So great job at defying expectations, everyone! Love you! Xoxo, Ashley. 

5. Gigil (Tagalog)

Perhaps you aren’t familiar with this word used by people in the Philippines, so allow me to translate. You know that feeling when something is so adorable that you want to squeeze it till it pops, like a puppy or a baby seal? Well, ladies and gentlemen, if you do not get this feeling when you look at Tony Bennett, a.k.a. the Silver Fox, then there is something wrong with you. His graying hair, those well-tailored suits and that precious smile he gets when his team wins over and over again are enough to make even the most hardened of criminals crack a grin. Imagine how much better college basketball would be if all the coaches were as cute as Tony Bennett instead of red-faced and wrinkled old men. 

6. Zest for life

After watching the Cavaliers win the ACC Tournament, my depression was temporarily cured for a whole six minutes. The fact that we won against UNC added a little boost. Can you imagine how much joy we will be filled with every time Virginia wins? We’ll all walk around Grounds with a hop in our step, a song in our heads and a special place in our hearts for Tony Bennett. 

7. Pride

I must confess that I sang the Good Ol’ Song for about half an hour after the Cavaliers’ ACC Championship win. Now that we’re the No. 1 seed on our quarter of the NCAA bracket, the only thing that goes through in my head is the Good Ol’ Song. One of the best feelings is seeing your school dominate at and break records of a major sport, especially after a less-than-stellar football season. I feel such a sense of pride, almost in a motherly way, for these guys that I’ve literally never met in my entire life. I’ve even started saying “we” won or “we” played well as if I’m a member of the team. So Tony, if you need someone that is funny, likes to yell and feels pride on an extreme level, I’m your gal. 

8. Schadenfreude (German)

We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t get a nasty smirk on our faces while watching teams like Duke, UNC and Virginia Tech lose, especially to our valiant Cavaliers. This interesting feeling can best be described by the German word schadenfreude, which literally means harm-joy. So it’s basically that feeling of satisfaction you get while specifically watching the misfortune of others. I personally can’t wait to see our rivals’ egos handed right back to them when they get knocked out of the running for the NCAA Championship. The Cavaliers are coming for you, so you’d better watch out. 

9. Worry

Waiting for each game fills me with endless worry. What if something goes wrong? What if someone gets hurt? What if Kyle Guy loses his knee sock thing? The odds of our success are pretty good, but there’s still a part of me that doesn’t trust these players as far as I can throw them, which I assure you is not far at all considering I am 5-foot-3 and a midget compared to these guys that were probably my size in sixth grade. Despite my constant worry, I am excited to see what kind of run they’ll have this year. 

10. Madness

There is no way that experiencing all of these emotions in such a short period of time is good for our mental health, but once March is over, I guarantee you none of us will remember any of the madness we just went through. In fact, we’ll even be excited to do it all over again next year. We’re bound to experience highs and lows, grief and joy, but one thing is for sure — it will be one heck of a month and a historic tournament for Virginia basketball. 

Correction: This article has been updated to note that Gigil is a word in the Tagalog language. The article previously misidentified the word as being Filipino. 

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