So, I don't know about you, but for me, this is my favorite time of year when it comes to sports: March Madness has begun!
The OSAA 5A/6A Boys Basketball tournament is going on this week at Mac Court. In my lifetime, I've gone more years than not and I think I have been there for the last 9 or 10 tournaments in a row. What is especially cool is the opportunity to represent U.S. Bank and give out a trophy to one of the finalists. I will never forget the faces of the boys, coaches and fans of Jefferson High School after they won last year's championship. AND it was especially great to be able to give a third place trophy to the Mountain View team in 2007, since that's the school my kids went to and where Jeremy, played varsity basketball and now coaches.
It's also the beginning of a month's worth of frustration and sorrow. I love college basketball, especially the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of tournament games - and watched tons more on TV. There is something about the energy and excitement of these games that I just love. But it also means filling in my brackets and watching my selections go down in flames. Year after year after year. so, let me just give you an idea of how I expect the next month to go for me . . .
Saturday, March 14th:
* Spend the day watching conference tournament games. All in an effort to absorb as much information as I can to make up for not having watched as many games as I should to make intelligent selections for my bracket. I know it's too late but I do it anyway.
Sunday, March 15th:
* Spend the day watching more conference tournament games. Yes, I am a slow learner!
* 3:00 PM: Tune into the NCAA Men's Basketball selection show on CBS. That's when they announce who's in the tournament and who's not. Let the whining begin!
* 3:01 PM: First text message from Jake, complaining that some favorite team - usually Kansas or Georgetown - got screwed. Complains about Duke's seeding out of habit.
* 3:59 PM: The show is over and I realize that, once again, the Beavs did not make it in. I know better than to whine about it.
* Spend the rest of the evening messing around with my bracket and ignoring everything and everyone else in my life.
Monday, March 16th:
* More tweaking of my bracket. As always, I follow scientifically proven principals and select my teams based on whether I like them or not. I am never able to pick UCLA, Arizona, Florida. Must not pick Gonzaga to go to the Final Four. Again.
Tuesday, March 17th:
* The fabled Play-In game! For reasons I have never understood, two teams are selected to play in this game and the winner moves on to the actual tournament, which begins on Thursday. My best guess is that they are selected based on the obscurity / ridiculousness of their name. Most years the two teams are Austin Peay vs. Bethune Cookman. (I just said "pee" - hehehe!)
* Drink green beer in honor of some team who wears green. Maybe Michigan State.
Wednesday, March 18th:
* I have to take Valium several times during the day to keep from freaking out that the "madness" begins tomorrow!!!!!
* Make one last change to pick Gonzaga to go to the Final Four. Again.
Thursday, March 19th:
* 10:00 AM: It's Christmas! Let the games begin! Thirty-two teams play in sixteen games today. Does life get any better than this? I submit it does not!
* 10:05 AM: Take my first Valium in a futile effort to calm down.
* 11:00 AM: Kids everywhere are allowed to skip school in the middle of the day to come home with a group of their friends, order pizza and watch games. At least if they have decent parents. Or a parent like me anyway.
* Noon: I am at my desk, pretending to work but spending the majority of time checking the online game tracker to see who is ahead in any of the four games I am trying to stay on top of. I curse our IT folks for not allowing our PCs to stream live video of the games.
* 12:15 PM: Phone call! Don't these people know I am BUSY! Instead of answering with "Thanks for choosing U.S. Bank. This is Peter. How can I help you?" I go with something quicker and simpler: "WHAT!!!!!"
* 12:30 PM: Finally get off the phone with a branch manager who should have know that I am busy! Look at my bracket. Three of my four picks won their opening game! Woo hoo! I'm the king of the world!
* 1:00 PM: Another call - from a branch manager who is confident that all his teams have won and will win every game. He expects to make $1 million dollars from his tournament pool.
* 2:00 PM: Four more games are well under way. A couple of my upset picks are playing. My fingers are crossed so I am unable to respond to emails or instant messages.
* 4:00 PM: Eight games are done and, as usual, I am 7 for 8! Yeah, baby!
* 6:00 PM: I head home to watch the evening games in glorious HD. Nothing looks cooler in high def than college basketball. Am I right people?
* 11:30 PM: The first day's games are over. I am 13 for 16 and feeling pretty good.
* 11:45 PM: I post several trash talking messages to the poor souls in my Yahoo pool that aren't doing as well.
Friday, March 20th:
* 10:00 AM: It's the day after Christmas! Thirty-two more teams play in sixteen games today.
* 10:05 AM: I skip the Valium cuz I feel more under control today.
* 11:00 AM: Kids everywhere are allowed to skip school again. If they have any kind of decent parents anyway.
* Noon: The online game tracker must not be working properly. None of my teams seem to have won their games so far. Zero out of four, so far today!
* 12:15 PM: Ahhh geez. A phone call! Someone from a branch calls with their "Question of the Day." This is good news and bad news. Her questions are always good but I rarely have even a clue about what the answer may be. I won't be getting off the phone any time soon.
* 12:30 PM: I finish making up an answer and hang up. I check my bracket. Not one win in the early games! Aaargh!
* 1:00 PM: Ryan Young calls. He's pretty sure every team he's picked has won. Talks smack about my lame picks
* 2:00 PM: Four more games are under way, including Gonzaga! Go Bulldogs!
* 4:00 PM: Eight games are done and, as usual, I am 1 for 8 on Day 2. Even worse (but, as usual) Gonzaga has a meltdown and they lose to Austin Peay 94 to 13! (Hehehe. I said pee again.)
* 6:00 PM: I head home to watch the evening games in what I used to think of as glorious HD. Somehow it looks duller when your teams are not winning.
* 11:30 PM: The second day's games are over. I am 3 for 16 today and 16 out of 32 over all.
* 11:45 PM: I ignore the trash talking from the people in my Yahoo pool that seem to be so anxious to gloat about how well they are doing. How rude!
Saturday, March 21st:
* The second round begins. I watch games all day.
* Check my bracket a few times and realize that unless all four of the #1 seeds get beaten in this round, I'm toast
Sunday, March 22nd:
* Day 2 of the second round games. I watch games most of the day.
* I don't bother to check my bracket until the end of the day. All four #1 seeds won their games.
Monday, March 23rd:
* Back at work. People ask how my bracket is doing. Slowly losing the will to live
Thursday, March 26th:
* Sweet 16 games begin. I check on how it's going around 1:00 PM and that's it until the evening.
* At 6:00 PM I head home and decide to watch last night's episode of LOST instead of basketball games.
Friday, March 27th:
* Day two of the Sweet 16. Who cares?
Saturday, March 28th:
* The Elite 8 games begin. I decide to go to a movie. By myself. Cuz I am obviously a loser.
Sunday, March 29th:
* Big upset! Austin Peay wins and is going to the Final Four. Better yet, they beat Duke and made Kyle Singler cry! Suh-weet!
Saturday, April 4th:
* Final Four - Game 1: North Carolina beats Memphis to move on to the championship game.
* Final Four - Game 2: Austin Peay beats Pittsburgh, giving me a chance to say pee one more time!
Monday, April 6th:
* I am excited that a Cinderella team like Austin Peay (insert your own bodily function joke here) has made it to the championship game against the perennial powerhouse of UNC.
* 6:30 PM: The game finally gets under way! Jake immediately sends a text complaining about Jim Nance play by play calling.
* 6:45 PM: Austin Peay (insert your own bodily function joke here) pulls into a 15 point lead.
* 6:50 PM: Tyler Hansborough starts yelling at the referees out of frustration.
* 7:15 PM. First half is over. Austin Peay (insert your own bodily function joke here) goes into the locker room with a 3 point lead.
* 7:45 PM: Second half begins. UNC comes back and takes the lead with 19:05 left to play.
* 8:15 PM: Try as they might, Austin Peay (insert your own bodily function joke here) Just can't seem to even up the score.
* 8:30 PM: UNC now has a 20 point lead.
* 8:35 PM: Tarheels increase the lead to 30 points
* 8:40 PM: Now up by 40
* 8:45 PM: Tyler Hansborough starts yelling at the referees out of sheer boredom.
* 8:50 PM: Game over, UNC 120 - Austin Peay 65. (No more pee jokes, okay?)
* 9:20 PM: I start gagging when the "One Shining Moment" music starts playing. I love the highlight reel but hate the dang song. I turn down the sound and plug in my iPod to choose my own song to play over the video. Somehow "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake seems to work.
Another college basketball season has ended and I'm out $10 once again.