March Madness struck our house, as it does in many households across our nation. For many decades, Matt and I have had a contest of sorts between the two of us. We complete an NCAA bracket for each of the 64 (and of late, 68) teams which compete in the annual college basketball championship tournament.
When we were dating, my completion of this bracket was based on pretty limited knowledge. I had played in my high school pep band, so naturally I knew the basics of basketball. By basics, I mean I knew that a ball was bounced and shot into a net and that the team with the highest score at the end of the game was typically the victor. If it was my school with that high score, the band played our fight song (which I learned on both clarinet and trumpet; it was a small school).
So for a few years, as Matt began to provide me with a more detailed course of instruction on basketball, I usually chose teams for a variety of reasons. Not all of these reasons were pertinent. I always chose teams I knew — like Dayton, Ohio State, and Pitt. After that, I selected teams based on their names (like Austin Peay and Fairleigh Dickinson — those are just cute). If all my brackets weren’t completed, I would go by school colors.
Though my selections weren’t based on win-loss percentage or strength of schedule, I actually won a few years. In our contest, the “winner” was given the honor of choosing the next restaurant to which we’d go out to eat.
Ironically, after I began to learn the real ins and outs of basketball, I also lost more years than I won. We get to eat out regardless of which of us predicts the most, so it’s really a win-win, in my opinion.
This year, we also entered a bracket on the official ESPN website as a family. Matt, Kent, and I are competing against, as I understand it, everyone else who is competing, in an attempt to have the highest percentage of wins, overall. As I write this, we are in the middle of round 2, and so far Kent and I are doing a little better than Matt. This flies in the face of all that’s logical, since Matt has more knowledge than I, but there you have it. No matter the outcome, we’re having fun with this as a family.
Matt was invited by a buddy to be part of a player “fantasy” league. So he spent one evening selecting players, in turn, with 11 other guys to make “dream teams.” He took quite a few Big Ten players and so far, that’s paying off for him. The Big Ten is doing pretty well, again, as of the end of Round 1. We’ll see if that keeps up.
April’s nearly here, but it’s definitely March madness at our house. As for me, there’s a dinner at a restaurant in my future, so I’m good.
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.