How I Select My Brackets

Technical foul against Kentucky, NCAA.

First thing, I open up the app. I need to be able to see what’s happening and make frequent changes. A pencil and eraser would simply not work when you approach bracket making like Rothko.

I pick a quadrant and zoom in. I work in one quadrant at a time. Some years I think I’m done only to realize there’s a block that I missed. So, this year, I’m thinking quadrants. That’s four. I can likely realize if I don’t do four. Likely.

Here’s my next challenge. When I zoom in on a quadrant, I can’t see what I’m doing. So there’s a bit of blindness that I use to my advantage, like Zatoichi. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Next up, selection time. First things first, I’m looking to bump out my rival schools. Even if they’re a #1 seed. There’s always an upset early on. Why not those stupid schools that beat my team?

I click through a quadrant or two, only now I have to do something else. This bracket stuff takes a real time commitment. I can’t save my work. I have to leave it and redo it again later. I always think my second set of picks are likely better. Or, at least, no worse.

The quadrants don’t make any sense. Who can find Yale in the West? West of what? Providence? How does Buffalo get put in the South? Who placed University of SoCal in the East? Also, where is the North? Are there no North schools? Does the NCAA spell North as M-i-d-w-e-s-t? If there is a reason, I don’t feel like figuring it out. I have random teams to feed into my Final Four. If I’m googling anything, it’s where the hell is Weber State?

I select by schools I like, schools I like the name of, and schools playing against schools I hate–all with a splash of seeding. By the time I get to the 3rd and 4th brackets the second or third time, I’m more like working a divining rod. I let the cursor move itself toward a decision. It’s as good as anything else I do.

See Doc. Doc doesn’t know shit about college basketball and still plays March Madness. At least there’s no money on the line. Doc plays for pride. Don’t be like Doc.

March Madness

Like ten tubas sitting all lonely on the grass.

I watched as a tuba walked out of the Starbucks on the side of the hotel. It was accompanied by a guy with a funny light blue and white flat cap. It shot out lasers from the sun reflected on its shiny brass face as the funny-hatted guy twisted it 270 degrees back and 270 degrees forth. Trying to get his bearings.

The tuba was closely followed by some brass cousins–trombones and trumpets–as well as a twin tuba sib. There was a clarinet and a saxophone, too, as the band spilled out the door.

Drum line! Well at least a few percussionists. Hey! The instruments weren’t packed away. These folks were ready to play. I stopped. I’m crazy for the sound of a marching band. I stood listening for the staccato roll of the snare.

There were some cheerleaders with bows in their hair and that careful warpaint with an intertwined N and C that first looked like an N and a D. Even though I know the warpaint is actually little stickers, I imagine that thick oil-based makeup was carefully stroked and patted on with skinny little brushes on smooth, unlined cheeks.

There were also some jumping people. I don’t know what their official names are, but they were wearing blue jumpsuits in that same blue hue, so I bet they jumped. Maybe they are the hype men.

The instruments and their holders amassed on the plaza behind the subway escalator where people sometimes eat their lunch and near the fountain that hasn’t been filled up yet and where some people spend their entire day speaking very loudly to themselves or to someone that I can’t quite see. The instruments and their performers roiled around in that space like foaming bubbles. Moving but not really going anywhere.

The big man was the last of them to come from the coffee shop at the side of the hotel. He had a clipboard for his instrument. He circled around them on outside and, as he was moving, he lifted his right arm over his head and pointed away from the hotel to the other end of the block. The instruments and the people who played them moved as one. Away. Likely toward the Verizon Center.

And there I was. Left alone, wishing for at least SOME cowbell. It wasn’t to be.