I filled out my bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I finished it up on Wednesday. Oh, don’t worry. I did the extra game before it was played. Filling out a bracket is one of the harmless pleasures I indulge in like millions of people across the country every year. I don’t remember when I started, but know it was long before printable brackets became available online. When I was married, we used to get extra copies of the newspaper so we could both do several variations. Now when it is easy to print multiple copies, I usually just print two, one for me and one for G. who indulges me by filling one out too. Each year I try to engage her or give her something to connect her to all the basketball games I spend my time watching.
Brackets are fraught with disappointment. They are visual representations of the vagaries of counting on young men to do what you predict they will do. Each of the 65 teams is thrilled to be in the tournament. Each wants to win seven more games and become this year’s national champion. Given that mix: youth, desire, the potential for glory, is it any wonder that teams that should win don’t and teams that shouldn’t do? That’s why they play the games and that’s why people fill out brackets.
Trying to predict the unpredictable can be harmless fun or it can involve the exchange of money in office or other pools. Unknown millions of normally law abiding citizens flout the law and eagerly participate in this ubiquitous form of gambling.I used to take part in the pools at the various schools where I taught, but haven’t since I moved to Wyoming. It’s probably just as well for this year, it seems like I am doing worse that usual.