I’ve entered a pool.
My guess is the vast majority who have read this headline and/or lead sentence know exactly what I’m talking about. For the few (like my one year ago self) who have no clue whatsoever, I’ll elaborate.
For the first time in my adult life I have thrown my hat in the ‘pool’ of March Madness. If being one hundred percent transparent and completely honest … I did not pick the teams. I’m way too analytical and know nothing about college basketball so to have filled out the brackets myself would have left me in hives.
The term analysis paralysis was coined for people like me.
Fortunately I live with a miniature free-spirit engulfed in self-confidence, who is absolutely certain with her gut feeling. My guy (aka partner in crime, PIC) coined her our sports prodigy during his Fantasy Football pool, as he would consult with her on picks for ‘their’, yes, ‘their’ team. While she knew just as much about his players as I do college basketball she faithfully helped him pick.
“This should not have happened,” text messages would flood my phone on a pretty regular basis, as players or teams exceeded the expectations of those in the ‘know.’ Through it all the eight-year-old prodigy ... unfazed.
My PIC loves sports like I love running. Yep, he’s that guy. The guy who watches the games with pace-the-floor passion, takes deep breaths and tells us all to focus. I grew up around men like him, so to say it’s comfortable is an understatement. Sports viewing is a favorite family pastime and I love that we’re now passing it to the kids.
Odd as it may sound, the pool is bringing us closer together as a family. Suddenly we now have an interest (be it so slight) in the outcome of the PIC’s favorite time of the year.
So what have I learned?
Before sharing my insight on a series, which is still in progress, I must add I’m no dummy when it comes to sports. I know the difference between innings, quarters and halves. I can sit alongside my PIC and not need the game we’re watching spelled out (hockey and UFC fighting being the exception). Keep me abreast on the back stories of players and coaches or the team record and I’m good to go.
This ‘madness’ however, this purge of non-stop basketball that rolls from one to another to another, now that’s totally different. The brackets make me dizzy and I’ve been known to credit myself with a win for the incorrect ‘round’ or ‘bracket’ play ... I’m still not sure on the lingo.
The first few days of play however I did learn a bit about this March Madness and its amazing popularity.
First, I’ve always been a lover of amateur sports. Granted use of this word for college ball can be debated. With that said it is an amazing opportunity for these teams and players in the way of spotlight play. It’s fun to watch all the excitement as the teams are literally points apart with seconds to play.
There were a few ‘upsets’ that first weekend though. So much so that my PIC (also an analyst) was showing me data on odds for some of the teams to have actually advanced. A few, our prodigy predicted. More so than not, she missed the mark.
At penning of this piece we are hanging on by one team that is still alive.
In the end March Madness is a great metaphor for life. You look ahead, you weigh your odds and you make calculated choices. Some days you survive and advance. Some days you’re stopped cold in your tracks and must look to what’s next. And then some days you have all your eggs in one lowly basket and you pray that just this once ... you get it right.
We shall see.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.