This is my favorite time of year.  March Madness.  I love college basketball, I hate to admit it but I try to watch as much as I can during the year to prepare for the Tournament challenges.  Teams get one chance to get into the tournament of 68 teams, and one chance to win it all.  It is a time of underdogs and upsets.   Each year, I fill out a bracket in at least a few different groups (brothers, friends, work etc.).  Every year, I root for my Cyclones, and then I just want to see upsets.  It is so cool to see the underdogs take down the Kansases or the hated Duke Blue Devils (sorry Cole).     When I think of this time of year I think of two things, underdogs, and madness.

Madness

I can think of two examples of Madness in my life.

Number 1

Right now our life is full of madness.  Beth and I have two little girls, with one more baby on the way.  I am hoping we get closer to evening up the teams with a little boyJ.  I grew up with one brother, so dealing with girls was a shock to me.  The emotions run high at ALL times (good and bad). Ever seen Trolls? If you haven’t, I’ve made up for you. But the reason I ask is because you’ll see the character “Poppy” on there. Yeah her…I have a couple of those in my house.  I spend most of my early morning, trying to pick out pretty clothes for my four year old.  I wear sweatpants and Campus clothing every day, so trying to decide which bomber jacket goes best with her black leggings, or which tank top fits better under this or that shirt, all while trying to pick out the perfect shoes,  has definitely been an adjustment.  After I get the perfect outfit for Blakely, I am onto two-year-old Charlotte.  I have to keep an eye on her at all times; she is always on the go.  She jumps off everything, will put anything in her mouth, and loves to cause trouble.  Luckily, I can throw her in a Nike outfit and call it good. After dealing with the clothes, it is on to the hair part.  I could be the worst hair brusher of all time as neighbors probably have heard the screams.  I am lucky to have a wife who comes back home after going into work early in the morning specifically to do the girls’ hair.  I’ll spare you by stopping at the morning routine, but that’s a quick glimpse of my morning madness.

Number 2

Working for my family’s business growing up was madness.  When people ask me what that was like, I can sum it up in one story.  Van Ryswyk Plumbing and Heating has always been a huge part of my life.  My grandpa started the business when he was 17, and my dad and uncle took over in 2000.  I started working there when was 8 years old.  I spent most of my time there working with my Grandpa.  A little background on my Grandpa.  He is 82 years old and still works every day of his life.  He is a quiet man, but would do anything for anyone.  So the most “madness” day I have ever worked with him is as follows.  I show up around 7:30am, my dad sends us to a house to work on their Air Conditioner and inside faucets.  My grandpa and I load up everything we need and head to work.  We get there and the family’s dog is sleeping in the garage.  We check everything over and my grandpa tells me, you fix the faucets and I’ll go work on the air conditioner.  After about 30 minutes, I finish the faucets and head out to the truck to put my stuff away and go help my grandpa.  The family dog was awake, and started barking at me, so I ran to the truck and the dog chased me very angrily.  So, I am sitting in truck trying to decide what to do.  I see my grandpa walk around and the dog bites him in the shoulder.  He gets in the truck safely, but bleeding from the dog bite.  We both sit in the truck trying to decide what to do.  He finally tells me, he will distract the dog and for me to sprint to the front door and tell the owner to get their dog.  I look at him and ask “what if the door is locked?”  His reply, “just keep running around the house and get back in the truck.”  I was shocked, but being the athletic 17 year old stud that I was, (I’m sure my wife is rolling her eyes right now) I was going to try.  He opens his window, and I sprint to the front door.  Now while I was running like Benny from the Sandlot, in my PF Flyers, I am just about to the front door and the dog bites me in the butt.  Pretty bad, but I acted like I was fine.  The owners corral their dog and we go back out to my grandpa.  We talk to the lady for a while, all the time the dog is staring at us, and super mad we told on him.  My grandpa shows the lady his bite on the shoulder.  I told her I was fine.  My grandpa proceeds to tell the lady that the dog bit me and told me to show the lady where.  I looked at him in utter disbelief, but again being the super stud 17 year old kid that I was, I dropped my drawers enough to show her that nice bite mark on my derriere.  We left, and I will always have a great story to tell everyone.

Underdogs

Working at the Campus, I see a lot of underdogs.  Whether it is the shy person coming in for the first time, a person who’s never worked out before coming in wanting to make themselves better.  We see all kinds of underdogs.  I specifically work with kids so I see it all the time.  I have clients who want to show up and work hard and improve themselves, or I have kids who don’t want to be here.  Every kid is an underdog in my mind.  They all have something they are going through and want to upset the favorite.  In my classes, I love having kids who are underdogs, they work hard, show up, and always want to be in my class or training with me.  It is my job to make them seeded higher.  It is amazing seeing a kid transform from the underdog to the favorite.  It is a transformation that takes some time but it is worth the journey.

I am sure everyone has Madness and Underdogs in their life, just remember to take it one game at a time. Anything can happen in tourney play.

-Keaton Van Ryswyk, Youth and Sports Director