With graduation quickly approaching, there have been a whole lot of times (daily almost) where I’ve sat down and wondered to myself whether sports writing is a good profession — or the right profession, I guess — for me to embark on for the rest of my life.

I know my cold feet aren’t anything new for Michigan seniors all over campus in my same position. I’m sure you could find a handful of quarter-life crises going on in the UGLi about the very same thing.

And I know — better than most, I’d say — how an unpaid summer internship doesn’t really do much to soothe the soul. For those of us who don’t have the most conventional job prospects, there’s even less solace.

I couldn’t get this same thought out of my head after leaving Crisler Arena on Selection Sunday — likely my last on-site reporting for The Michigan Daily. Was there really hope for me to do this for the rest of my life? After all, I had been told, as I’m sure many of you have, that I should give up the dream on my profession sooner rather than later. My hope was waning pretty fast.

So I got home and turned on my DVR’ed Selection Sunday special. March had always been my favorite month for sports — there’s no arguing March Madness is the greatest event in all of sports — so I knew I could find some comfort in combating my employment sorrows with bracket projections.

But the analysts, well-schooled in bracketology, couldn’t offer me much hope. Most of them took nothing but chalk all the way to the Final Four. “This is the year for No. 1’s,” Joe Lunardi, the ultimate bracketologist, said.

For someone looking for hope and searching for Cinderella, Kansas, Duke, Ohio State and Pittsburgh don’t really spurn much faith in a successful underdog story.

And that’s what we all tend to feel like this time of year, on the eve of great change. We’re all underdogs, in a way. There’s a reason why the nation got behind George Mason when it went on its Cinderella run in 2006. We all saw a little bit of ourselves in the Patriots.

So I rebelled against the chalk. I found my underdogs and I stuck with them. Richmond (yes!), Belmont (whoops), Gonzaga (eh).

And sure, I may have been a little off on those choices. But if there’s something I’ve learned in filling out my bracket for a decade, it’s that you should always expect Madness when it comes to March.

As I write this column, the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, an 11th seed that shouldn’t have been in the Tournament anyway, just made the Final Four. They’ll take on Butler, the preeminent Tourney underdog, in what should be one of the most storybook Final Four matchups in recent memory.

How can you not believe in the magic of March when every one of those guaranteed No. 1 seeds are out of the Tournament?

And if March Madness doesn’t offer enough solace for you, take the Michigan hockey team as an example.

Notorious chokers in the last 10 or so postseasons, Michigan had already gone through its run as a Cinderella last year, when the Wolverines rode a pint-size goalie to a late-season hot streak and a regional final berth.

This year, the pint-size goalie thing wasn’t as cute and the Wolverines had serious expectations. Then, they lost two of their best scorers for extended periods — Louie Caporusso and David Wohlberg (who’s out for the rest of the season).

But as time winded down on Saturday, Michigan was heading to the Frozen Four. They had overcome the odds and lived up to the expectations. Now, in two weeks, they’ll try to do something that no major sport has done here in a while — bring home a national championship and vindicate the last four years of underachieving sports teams.

So as VCU cut down the nets and as Michigan sprinted toward center ice, I realized there wasn’t much more inspiration than this to an about-to-be-graduated-with-no-career-plans student. Crazy, crazy things can and do happen against the odds all the time.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ve all got a little bit of VCU in us this time of year. At least my bank account hopes so.

-Kartje can be reached at rkartje@umich.edu

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