Monday, March 14, 2011
My Journey into March Madness
Men and Basketball, it's inevitable here at this time of year. The insanity sets in on the males of the species as the field of 68 is chosen. "Did you get your bracket? How much you putting on...? You picked who?" And so on and so forth. But the fever afflicts yours truly as well. Deeply, rabidly...Do not dare come between me and my picks. You might lose a finger or something else more important.
I got started in this insanity a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, i.e. college. I went to DePaul where basketball is pretty much a religion. I played a few times, having fun, learning the ropes from guy friends. Things did not get serious until I started work at a male dominated law firm. When March came around and the office pool opened, I naturally asked for a sheet. And was met with incredulity followed by condescending male laughter. Then "Are you sure you know how to play, Melissa?" "Do you know anything about basketball?" Oh my inner bitch was rearing to go off, but I refrained. I simply nodded and smiled, thinking violent thoughts. My blonde hair and blue eyes belying my inner homicidal tendencies.
Then came the arrogant offers of help. Yeah, I can still here them. "You want me to help you pick your teams?" "Here, why don't you copy my teams, I actually follow basketball." "Melissa, you don't want to take this team because they don't finish strong." "So and so's guard has a knee problem." "Are you sure you want those guys?" Oh. My. God. They are so lucky I did not go postal and mow them down with an AK-47. I grit my teeth, ignored all their advice and turned in my picks.
Much to my embarrassment, I went down early with most of my picks losing in the first two rounds, but the big ones survived. I kept hearing comments all tournament long and getting those pitying looks. I was the only woman who played who did my own picks, never asking for advice from the guys. When all was said and done,though, I had the last laugh.
I leap-frogged over most of the rest of the pack at the end, correctly picking the Final Four and the National Champion. Thank you, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Arkansas and North Carolina 1995. I never won the office pool again, but oh the satisfaction of collecting my share of the winnings that year. To the tune of 400 smackers. Oh yeah, I rule.
Ever since then, it's on when the tourney rolls around. And now, I am off to make my picks. Go Illini!