So, we’re through the first weekend of a three-week-long basketball tournament, and all my bracket is good for now is reminding me that I still don’t know how to pronounce “Creighton.” (But after they yakked up their game against Baylor, I guess I don’t have to. Yes, I had them in the Final Four.)
The way I look at it, picking a bracket is kind of like buying a stock. Except for most of us, it’s like buying the stock of a terrible, fly-by-night Chinese online hair products company that drops in value by half the week after you buy it. (Obviously, I’m still carrying some residual anger from my investment in BrunetteBowlCuts.net) Only for a very few does the (relative) value of their brackets, and hence their enjoyment of the tournament, go up after that first weekend.
If you’ve ever bought stock before, you’ve probably bought a stock that’s gone bad, and it probably still grates on you when you think about it. It’s tough to put it behind you. But rarely do you have to endure the non-stop bombardment of news about it that we get about the NCAA basketball tournament. So how do we enjoy two more weeks of wall-to-wall coverage of a tournament that is a giant reminder of that terrible stock we bought? I have some ideas:
Pick a new bracket: But not based on who wins basketball games; that would just lead to more frustration. Set up a tournament-within-the-tournament where the winners are based on things like, “Team with most cheerleaders that are obviously on academic scholarship” (#1 seed: Stanford). Or, “Coach who has the most cardiac events during the game.” Or, “Most players who pee themselves a little bit during late-game free throws.” The possibilities are endless.
Pick the team that damaged your bracket the most, and root against them: Think how much fun it will be to go from not knowing that Dayton has a basketball team to deciding that they are the source of all evil in the universe, and probably had something to do with the disappearance of that Malaysian airliner.
Work on your Jim Nantz impression: “Hello, friends. My hair hasn’t moved in twenty-eight years, and I can’t stop talking about The Masters, a tradition of tinkley springtime piano music unlike any other.” I have high hopes that Jim is even now going slowly insane and will soon start calling basketball games thinking that he is in Augusta. Free throws will become “up-‘n’-downs” and alley-oops will become “a spectacular double eagle!” And of course it’ll be great to watch him chasing around the tournament Most Outstanding Player and trying to put a green jacket on him.
Turn your back on basketball and pick your fantasy baseball team: It’ll end up being another bad stock, but at least you won’t have to start hating yourself again until September or so. And if sports is about anything, it’s about putting off hating yourself.