The Madness of Vanden

Reese Ancheta, Sports Reporter '20

March Madness is a widely known college basketball tournament with teams from schools such as UCLA, Duke, UC Irvine, and many moreThis event has been adopted by high schools to encourage their students to engage in school events and make them feel more connected to the college scene.  

At Vanden, the March Madness tournament is hosted by the Associated Student Body or Leadership class. The Athletics Commissioner, Mackenzie Del Rosario, discussed what goes on behind the scenes and how successful March Madness has been in the pastDel Rosario described March Madness as a co-ed, 3v3 basketball tournament held at Vanden, in which 1st place earns a trophy and each individual player gets a medal 

Statistically, Vanden has had about 10 or more teams participate and they are anticipating possibly 12 teams this year. Del Rosario explained the purpose for March Madness is building student interest, “It’s kind of like mimicking the actual March Madness tournament that goes on and bringing it here so that the student body can enjoy watching people that they know.” ASB often faces the challenge of getting students to participate in school events, so they advertise the 3v3 basketball tournament with posters leading to the sign-up tables outside of P-2 (the Leadership classroom), announcements over the PA system, and graphics that are posted all over social media. The main incentive for students to play, according to Del Rosario, could quite possibly just be bragging rights. 

Vanden’s basketball teams have the reputation of dominating the sport. It would not be fair to students not on the team if they had to play against a team of Vanden players so ASB has made a rule that says that no more than one Varsity player is allowed on a team. Isaac Montgomery, a prospective player who is also on the Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team, believes that there is March Madness because it’s simply, “a fun game that the people at the school can play.” Vanden’s March Madness is a very casual athletic eventso Montgomery simply asks his friends if they want to play or finds cool people to play with. Rather than treating March Madness as an event that requires 100% focus and competition, Montgomery’s strategy for playing is to go out there and having fun 

March Madness doesn’t only involve students, but teachers enjoy watching and participating too. Mr. Deponte, a Vanden PE teacher, has consistently volunteered his time during lunch to be a referee for various athletic events. “We have March Madness because we have a tremendous amount of interest in basketball here at Vanden. I think that the success of both of our girls and boys basketball teams causes a lot of excitement around campus.” 

 Though Mr. Deponte doesn’t actually play in the tournament, he does have a lot of experience refereeing for the various games put on here at Vanden. Many may think that the decision to sacrifice precious teacher time for a game would be silly, but Mr. Deponte volunteers his time because he’s a glutton for punishment”. He believes that without someone to referee, there would be a lot more arguing and craziness. Since he’s coached for over 20 years, he truly enjoys to stay involved with his first love, basketball.