I was 13 when I first starting filling out brackets for the Mens’ NCAA Basketball Tournament. My P.E. teacher had a “Pop Pool,” where anyone who wanted to could pitch in 50 cents, fill out a bracket, and whoever had the most correct picks at the end of the dance won however many sodas the kitty could buy. Hmmm…as I write that, it sounds like something that today would get a teacher fired. I did not win that year, but I learned a little “bracketology,” as it’s called now, and in subsequent years I did better.
The first year of my mission, I was finishing up in the Missionary Training Center on Selection Sunday. By Thursday, my two best friends from high school and my parents had each sent me brackets to fill out. I hadn’t watched a college basketball game for two months, but I filled it out anyway and ended up beating one of my friends.
When I was coaching speech, the state speech tournament was always the first day of the basketball tournament. State speech was held at a university that was on spring break, so campus was pretty empty, but they kept the student union open. It was always a break from the stressful competition when a couple coaches and I would go over to the union and catch snippets of games. It’s probably the only thing I miss about state speech.
I don’t watch as much college basketball as I used to–there are games on every night of the week, and I seem to get busier every year–but I still love filling out those brackets, and this weekend is one of my most favorite weekends of the year. I call it my basketball hangover weekend. Doesn’t matter if I don’t know or like teams that are playing–I can’t help but watch.
So if you don’t hear from me between Thursday and Sunday, now you know where I’ll be: on the couch, pretending to do homework while I’m watching what I consider to be the greatest show on earth.