March Madness: Covid edition 


By Office of Ruben Gallego

People from all around can Zoom together to watch the games!

As March Madness rolls around every year, crazed college fanatics dig up their favorite jersey, whip out some snacks and sit on the couch with friends just as  enthusiastic as them. Just as it has been for everything, COVID-19 has altered the norms of March Madness. A time usually full of friends and family competition over college hoops now consists of socially distanced, masked get-togethers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After the NCAA tournament was cancelled last year, fans are yearning for a sense of normalcy as well as getting back to screaming their heads off at the T.V. 


Zoom Meetings 

Zoom Meetings offer a feature to users that allows for the host to share his or her screen to the rest of the group on the call. In the sense of college hoops, the host can share their live stream of the games so that everyone can watch them together and experience each other’s reactions without risking any contact with the virus. Zoom calls can be used for so much more than lectures from teachers, and give people a way to gather following the COVID guidelines. Sophomore Olivia Weiss said  “It was amazing and to see how our world has changed to the point where we are all laughing and watching a game together on a computer.” It’s simple: grab your computer and copy and paste the link to your friends and family. Just like that you are ready to witness madness as a unit. 


Bracket Groups 

Every year fans utilize the free to use apps and websites that make it so easy to fill out online brackets for the tournament. Sophomore Eliot Biggerstaff explains, “creating as many online brackets as you want and entering them into different bracket groups like one with your friends, family or team fans is really fun and entertaining during Covid because it creates a safe socializing environment.” The Wessex Wire even created a group for West Essex students to participate in! 


Outdoor Setups 

Throughout quarantine, friends and families have found success in outdoor, socially distant gatherings. Outdoor viewings of March Madness should be utilized because everything you can do inside can be done outside, and it is significantly more effective in preventing the spread of  COVID-19. A bonus of being outside is that while the college players are adjusting their game plans during halftime, you can grab a friend and shoot some hoops for yourself. Eating delicious pizza in good company, while watching the Cinderella story unrail, all washed down with a crisp soda, provides a nice twist on the madness. 


Rentable Movie Theaters 

Many local movie theaters, such as the AMC Loews in Wayne, are offering private rentals to the space for small groups. Inviting a small congregation to watch the game in the theater allows for you to spread out from each other while enjoying the game on a giant screen. All movie theater snacks are individually wrapped to avoid unwanted contact and with masks all COVID-19 regulations are followed. 


Enjoy the Madness

The madness has returned and players as well as fans are eager to watch it all unfold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow the Covid restrictions. Although COVID-19 stripped away the tournament last year, fans have multiple activities now to watch the games they love while staying safe. Kick back, turn on the T.V, and watch the final four games unravel!