I'm going to go ahead and let you know right out of the gate that this post is largely about me being a huge nerd when it comes to the NCAA Tournament... If that doesn't particularly interest you, click away now. It was nice seeing you today, even if it was brief.
Ok, now that we're down to those of you who already know where this is going, let's just jump on into things... (Oh and if you're looking for deep analysis, don't bother... I'm not going to go into the details of my bracket with the likes of you! Mostly because I know few (if any) of you would give two shits about what I think about the 12-5 upsets, or who is going to be a "Cinderella" this year... Anyway, moving on.)
First off, to those of you who don't already know, I need to explain something about March Madness. It is understood by those who know me well, and/or those who spend any considerable amount of time around me, that March Madness, and the very prospect of the big dance looming on the horizon, is the main thing that gets me through those horrid grey winter months. I am honestly NOT kidding you when I say that I look forward to bracket day more than I look forward to Christmas. It might seem sad to you, but I am really not joking about that.
Some of you are re-reading that last bit in total disbelief because you are personally irritated beyond belief by all the hullaballoo surrounding the tournament. (You are certainly entitled to hold this opinion.) You hate listening to co-workers and all the sportscasters talk about their brackets and their picks. On this point I will agree with you. I hate listening to sportscasters talk about their picks. (That's another reason I am not going to go into my picks... because I know you don't give a dead dog's nose about my elite 8.) But my main reason for hating the sportscasters is that they were able to land in a cushy job where all they have to do is postulate about sports scenarios all day every day. They have their little lackeys to look up stats for them, and they have handlers and makeup artists to make sure they look good on camera, even when in reality they look more like they should be living under a bridge anxiously awaiting the arrival of some billy goats or Goldilocks, or whatever. I also don't like listening to random people I don't know talking about the tournament, because it's mostly men who I find engaged in this conversation publicly, and when I as a woman interject a point I am viewed one of three ways A) I am thought to be some kind of blathering idiot, and because I have ovaries my outburst of basketball fact is written off as something tantamount to a Tourette's outburst, initially acknowledged but then later written off as some kind of social anomaly to be gawked and laughed at upon my departure. B) I am looked at as though I have three heads... Because I have sports knowledge and a uterus I obviously belong in a freak show with a travelling circus. Personally if I could manage to parlay that into some kind of a paying gig, I would not be opposed to it. Or on the very rarest of occasions, C) I am lusted after uncontrollably because I have a great rack, and I could quote shooting stats of teams I follow, or argue the pros and cons of playing man-to-man defense versus zone defense. This usually turns into my knowledge embarrassing the guy in front of one of his friends for knowing something he didn't know, and thus calling his manhood into question, thus making any further contact undesirable.
I also hate the incessant car commercials aired during March Madness. Everyone offering up crazy deals because "the boss" (not to be confused with The Boss) has gone crazy with the March Madness and is offering up HUGE SAVINGS, it makes me ill... If I was a true basketball fan and I wanted to buy a car I sure as hell wouldn't run out and do it because I saw a commercial during a game. Hell no. My ass is going to remain firmly planted watching every last second of that game in all its glory. March Madness comes but once a year, car dealerships are always trying to sell cars, and they will always have some little sales event going on... and even if they don't, it's time for your stupid ass to learn to haggle. But I digress.
So a lot of you out there hate the tournament... That's fine. I respect that. I understand that you are upset that for roughly 3 weeks you can't tune into some of your favorite prime time shows... Hell in the early rounds, depending on what you like to watch on a daily basis, and who has the broadcasting rights to the tournament in any given year, unless you're really into Lifetime movies you can't tune in for much of anything but basketball for the first four days or so. I totally get how this might upset you. I just hope that you are understanding enough to make the allowance for me to have these two or three blissful weeks in March, because really, what else have I got to look forward to? Really, it's this and my family reunion... That's about it folks. My life is made tolerable by these few sparse annual pleasures.
And so after the brackets were set yesterday evening, I drafted an e-mail to my primary tournament confidante... As it is a long-standing tradition, Kirsten "The Admiral," and I had our regularly scheduled 6th annual conversation regarding the brackets. These conversations have stretched into the six hour range in past years. (We are big fans of sidebar notes, and we both love a hearty debate about the merits of anything, so the tournament gives us AMPLE opportunity.) We go through our brackets, we debate our picks, occasionally one of us will sway the other on a particular game. This year we managed to stay on task for most of the conversation and pared it down to a two and a half hour conversation. Though when one or both of our brackets end up in the proverbial (and in one instance LITERAL) toilet, we reserve the right to have marathon consultation calls. These conversations are a given. We save up rollover minutes specifically for this very reason.
This year we're officially putting Kansas "on notice" a la Stephen Colbert. And we both hate Duke, and North Carolina. We might be wrong in allowing these personal feelings to color our judgement when picking the outcome of certain games, but there is a method to our madness. We've been burned before. We bear the scars. For better or for worse, if you're stuck on a late-round game, when most of the bullshit teams have been eliminated, you go with your gut, even if your gut is only forcing you to lean a certain way because you dislike a certain team for whatever reason... (Cough, cough Krzyzewski, ...gesundheit).
I know that the few of you who didn't click away in the initial paragraph are probably bored out of your mind right now. My apologies. I'll wrap this up.
But for those of you who are interested in what I have to say about the tournament, I would like to add a little something so that you can enjoy a few of the games just a little bit more...
Maybe it's just me, but I can't watch a Florida basketball game anymore without chuckling to myself... It's something about Joakim Noah (probably the hair) that reminds me of Spanish from Old School... And then I have the mental image of Will Ferrell in a leotard, jumping around like a spaz, twirling a ribbon. It gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.