March Madness: Family Counciling, Anyone?

Tomorrow is the first day of March. That means spring, rain, and madness.
One of America’s best traditions, filling out NCAA tournament brackets, is set to begin. Throughout offices all over America, men and women stop being productive to look up the record of college basketball teams playing away from home in the afternoon with the humidity in the air above 50%, all in the hope of winning that most sacred of contests: the pool.
For years, my family has filled out a bracket for the tournament. The stakes are bragging rights as well as mocking rights. This has been our tradition for years. The other tradition is, of course, me wanting to throw the tv at my sister.
I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s luck. Maybe it’s some weird intuition. Maybe she fixes the games. I have no idea. She manages, somehow, to consistently beat me without even a working knowledge of NCAA Basketball.
It all began around the turn of the century. She had chosen the Gonzaga Bulldogs to upset the seven seed, Louisville. Everyone questioned her choice. Why Gonzaga? The answer was simple.
“Their name is funny.”
While that is true, this logic did not seem to spell out a sweet sixteen birth for the Bulldogs. We all had a good laugh.
That is, until the tournament started.
Suddenly, led by Dan Dickau, the Bulldogs wiped out Louisville 77-66. As unlikely as this seemed, they did again the next game, taking out the two seed, St. John’s. They were in the Sweet Sixteen.
My sister handled with grace. When I say she handled it with grace, I mean she rubbed it in my face over and over. Based purely on the name of a college, she had outsmarted me.
A year passed and once again tournament time arrived. I analyzed and agonized over my bracket, picking ever so carefully. My bracket became my masterpiece, suitable to be hung in a wing of any art museum.
My sister randomly chose teams.
Once again, she had penciled in Gonzaga into the Sweet Sixteen, putting them up against Michigan State. Yet again, we laughed. This year, Gonzaga was worse, coming in as a 12 seed. They would have to beat Virginia, the 16th ranked team in the country, to make it out of the first round.
Which they did.
Losing to Michigan State, the eventually champions, in the Sweet Sixteen, Gonzaga had once again defied expectations and proved my sisters method for picking teams (random selection) superior.
You may be wondering what the moral of the story is. I wish I had a more Aesopian moral for you, but I don’t. All I have is advice.
Don’t do a bracket with my sister. It will eventually give you an ulcer.

P.S. If you want some expert analysis, check out Mark Van Sickle’s blog. He knows what he is talking about.

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