Just two short years ago, I wrote a sassy column for a friend's blog about March Madness - namely how I just didn't get the obsession.
"Like most Americans, I grew up filling out brackets (usually by whichever color I liked best) and betting with my family. We would give up TV for Lent, with the caveat that we could watch March Madness games," I had said. "I understand that it's fun to put five bucks in a pool and trash talk your friends and family, but once it is clear I am not going to win I'm pretty much over it. Even if I'm doing well in my pool, two games a day is about my limit. It astounds me that people can, and do, spend entire days just watching basketball."
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
That fateful year, my boyfriend grew sick of all my griping about watching sports constantly (or so it seemed) and decided to tap into my occasionally out of control competitive side to sway me to give up the remote during tournament time. He said I had to fill out my own bracket, thinking if I was invested in the games I would be more apt to watch.
He was right.
I am currently, after one day of games, at number 32 in my pool of 161 - tied for third with 13 correct picks. As a side note, I hate Ohio State. However, 13 correct is not good enough. I want perfection, which, at least in terms of a bracket, is apparently 35.6 billion times less likely to happen than to win the mega millions on one ticket. That hasn't stopped me from reading more sports this week than in the rest of the year combined in an effort to make the "right" picks.
My browser had no less than six Sports Illustrated tabs open when I was doing my research. Six! I read a whole lot of opinions on the teams in this tournament. And it all made sense.
Literally, it ALL made sense.
Every article I read or expert opinion I assessed made perfect sense. The problem, of course, is that I read at least three pieces that directly contradicted each other. I could read "Wichita State is going to win it all," immediately followed by "Wichita will get upset in the second round." Wait, what? How am I supposed to know who to pick?
But of course, I'm not. As we know, anyone might get upset. Anyone might win. Anything could happen! So my methodology has morphed to one part research, one part wild guesses. Which, if we are being serious, is probably what everyone who attempts to fill out a bracket relies on.
So, after just one night of multiple overtimes and close cuts for some of my Sweet Sixteen teams, I am fully into this year's tournament. Again.