Sitting in the 4B study room late at night, procrastinating as usual, I struck up a conversation with Brendan Markey (a freshman in 4B who also loves to wait until 11pm to start working) about basketball. This was February and we were both excited for March Madness, NBA playoffs, Bookstore basketball, and more. In the midst of the conversation came an idea about having a basketball tournament within Keough.
Despite being a sophomore in ND, my reason for wanting to run this event was not for charity. It was our rector, Father Pat, who added a pinch of his priesthood to make the tournament into a charity event for Kitete. What I wanted out of this was a chance for Keough guys to get out of their sections. Although the section culture and mentality we have in Keough cannot be topped by other bonds on campus, I cannot say the same for our dorm spirit. Most of our events involve, in one way or another, sections. Chariot race and section sports with Rootreat are the staple of Keough. However, for both Chariot race and section sports, sections compete against one another. I wanted to come up with an event that will allow for the Roos to interact with other Roos without the boundary of sections to create a sense of dorm-hood.
Execution of this, however, was not as easy as I had hoped. If someone went back to February and showed me a clip of the tournament from this past Saturday, I would not have recognized it as Marilyn Madness. I took many suggestions from Brian Richman (Keough Hall Government VP for Spring Semester 2017) and the hall government, Paul Seo (1A RA), Father Pat, Stephen Meisenbacher (designer of the shirt that we could not have), and countless other men in Keough Hall to bring the event to fruition. During Spring Break, I had doubts about the event when I could not get the funding straightened out with HPC and SAO. The first week of April I was convinced that this event was not going to happen when multiple requests for the venue fell through. On April 23rd, I had given up the idea of 16-team tournament and started to think of ways to format the tournament with 5 teams.
Through the grace of God, by Thursday (with the last-minute addition of New York Trailpacers, Champion of the First Annual Marilyn Madness), I was able to get 16 teams to sign up. Saturday came and I was stressed and scared. I was worried that people would not enjoy the tournament set-up. I had run it by people multiple times but everything was still up in the air. What if 5-minute games are too short? What if the rules are not fair? Despite my worries, at the end of it all, Aaron Bode (4A RA) came up to me said, “To be honest, I was skeptical about the rules for the tournament coming in, but I think it worked really well” (although there is a chance that he said that because he won tournament).
I’m not writing this blog to pat myself on back for putting on a successful event. If there is anyone still reading this, here is the cliche-take-away: take the initiative but it’s not a solo race. I wanted something Keough could get excited about as the second semester dragged on. Upon hearing that I wanted to do this event, countless Roos went out of their ways to offer their advice. Be careful, however, to not overload it with other people’s ideas. Having too many cooks in the kitchen is never ideal. Maybe Marilyn Madness will die out after I graduate, or maybe it will become another Keough event that people can get excited about. Either way, the best part of Marilyn Madness was hearing the players saying that they had fun, and I can’t wait to see how the tournament will turn out next year.