Search This Blog

Friday, March 18, 2011

NCAA Basketball Bracketology – A Love Hate Relationship!

For most sports fans, the NCAA Basketball Tournament is “like celebrating Christmas everyday” during the last three weeks of March.  The days leading up to the Tournament are like putting the final touches on your “XMAS wish list” for Santa Claus (hey, don’t tell me you don’t believe in Ole St. Nick!), as you watch your favorites make the cut, (Dear Santa, whatever you do, please make sure you get me the Action Pump Laser Blaster With X Ray Vision!) and the seldom talked about or never heard of before teams become fodder  for the top seeds in The Tournament.  (Has anyone every heard of Wofford U?) 

Which takes me to the Brackets…The Office Pools…The contests that are promoting your chance to WIN A MILLION DOLLARS if you can pick all the winners.  Like Your Christmas Wish List, each day before the Tournament begins, you cling to this complex bracket of criss crossing lines, seed numbers, regions, etc., like you’re Indiana Jones agonizing over a map in search of the next pot of gold.  With pencil in hand, and your trusty sports website in front of you with the latest injury report or rumor, you cross out, erase, and refigure who will be your Final Four teams. 

That night before The Tournament starts you can’t sleep, your bracket tucked under your pillow waiting for the first jump ball, and your quest to become the next Final Four Prodigy!!! 

As I mentioned, for most sports fans, this time of year in College Basketball, with every game available on four different channels, 24 hour analysis from numerous talking heads comprised of ex-athletes, coaches, and sports bloggers, is like celebrating Christmas…which brings me to my close friend, Ted.  Now, don’t get me wrong – Ted loves basketball.  Ted played basketball – (okay, it was high school, and a D1 school in NY, but still it’s a lot better than my days in the local church league, where I was afraid to raise my hands on defense because I didn’t wash my knees the night before!)  In fact, Ted still plays basketball.  And he loves College Hoops!  What he doesn’t like is the NCAA Bracket Contests…just mention the phrase… "Hey, Did You Fill Out Your Brackets?" and the grown man shrivels up, and starts to stammer like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.  

So, I asked him, as I was studying my 10th completed bracket on the eve on Thursday’s Tournament Kickoff… “Ted, why don’t you fill out a Tournament Bracket, do you not believe in Santa Claus?”  Ted looked at me, and then looked away, down at the ground, like a little boy who felt ashamed that he had lost his favorite toy.  When his head came back to me, Ted explained how the brackets take away the fun of watching The Tournament.   

Steve, I can’t cheer for 14 seeded Wofford, (leave it to Ted to even know how to pronounce the school’s name) if I know that their victory will knock out the team I picked to go to the Elite 8!”  Ted was on a roll and by this time, I could hear the passion for his belief coming out in every word…  “It’s like buying a lottery ticket – I expect to win every single time I buy a ticket!  It just takes away from my enjoyment.  No longer am I rooting for the underdog, or my favorite coach, or player, or university…now it’s all about who I picked to represent the East region in the Final Four, and how I’m doing against the rest of the lunatics at the office!  It’s insane.  Why can’t we just leave BRACKETOLOGY to and Dick Vitale!”  (Wow, I never realized how demoralizing hanging around Ted could be!) 

I understand his point, you know not everyone likes all the lights, and glitz that goes with the Holidays…some people just want to enjoy the glow of the yule log in the fireplace.  I can respect that.  But for me, well…The Action Is The Juice!  Bring on the Office Pools, and post the results on everyone’s office door, in the breakroom, and hell, post them in the stalls in the bathrooms!   Let the trash talking begin because I picked the Tar Heels to be crowned Champion in 8 of my 10 brackets!  (Even in 2010, when Roy and the Boys didn’t make the Field of 64, I still had UNC as the Champion in one of my pools!)

Bring On Dickie V, and make sure he is wearing a red suit, and sit him in the front of the sleigh!!!

NOTE: I guess Ted isn't the only one... (The Case For Not Filling Out The Bracket - Darren Rovell)

No comments:

Post a Comment