Today kicks off March Madness, and if you are at all vested in college sports or if you know any male you know all too well the time commitment and dedication it takes to be a March Madness fan. Personally, I’m a big college sports fan. I went to Florida State University where the culture of sports and beer are cultivated like fine wines and cheese. Being a fan is an artform in Tallahassee, Florida. While I mostly follow college football, I do dust off my basketball cheerleading uniform for one month a year and I cheer on teams that I know nothing about in the name of March Madness.
For years, I have stood on the sidelines as Chris participated in pools and brackets. I’d occasionally throw a good suggestion in the mix for him, but for the most part I just showed up and ate chicken wings. But not this year. No, sir.
Because THIS year, I’m IN THE POOL. That’s right. Chris finally agreed to let me enter the basketball pool that he and his friends have done for the past few years. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. I spent HOURS pouring over statistics that mean absolutely nothing to me in an effort to help me make at least a half-way educated guess. I don’t need to win the thing. I just don’t want to embarrass myself. Visions of playing golf with my Dad when I was little and being told to just pick up my ball because I had taken too much time dance in my head. I don’t want to choke under the pressure. I just want to be able to at least hang in there for a few rounds.
I called my sister when I found out I was going to play.
“Ginny,” I whispered. “When you pick teams that are going to win in a basketball tournament, what is that called?”
“I think its called your racket,” she said.
“Oh, yeah. I think that’s right,” I responded. (Its not right, actually. Its called a BRACKET.)
“And Ginny?” I asked. “Whats it called when you enter a group of people who all pick their rackets?”
“I think that’s called a pool,” she said.
“Oh, yeah. I think that’s right,” I responded. (That actually is right.)
So with the help of my trusty sister, I was able to at least FAKE the sports lingo I would need to be a real contender. Of course, Ginny went to the University of Florida, a university that makes Florida State look like a nursery school when it comes to team spirit. Chances are she was more immersed in the “culture” of beer than the “culture” of sports while she was there, so God knows what she actually knows about sporting rules. She looks great in a jersery and visor though, so I trust her judgment.
I submitted my BRACKET yesterday and the tournament kicks off today. Cross your fingers and cheer for Pittsburgh! They are my number one pick over U Conn (don’t I sound so sporty?). And if you have any basketball watching/picking/cheering tips for me to keep me from completely embarrassing myself, feel free to share. I’m gonna need all the help I can get!