|Here's my bracket for the 2014 Basketball Tourney, photo by Jeno Berta|
March 20, 2014 (Happy Spring!)
It's that time of year where the sports world's spotlight shines on the sport of college basketball. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, a/k/a "March Madness," a/k/a "The Big Dance" (I'll stop here) is upon us. As I type this, my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes have already exited the tourney before it barely begun. They fell tonight to the Volunteers of Tennessee. Drat. Although I'm bummed about the loss, it pales in comparison to what happened earlier today. Coach Fran McCaffrey's son, Patrick, had surgery on his thyroid yesterday morning. Thankfully, the surgery went great and he's doing well. That is about a billion times more important than the score of a basketball game.
Still, it does stink they lost. To say otherwise would make me the worst kind of hypocrite. I have cheered too loud and too long to say, "Oh, it's just a game." Nope, I am bummed they lost. I was hoping they would pull it out but that's how the ball bounces...
As I try (and sometimes fail) to be an optimist, there is an upside to my team being done. I can get off the emotional roller-coaster that is this game. Unlike other sports, basketball is sadistic in how many things can go wrong and how many things your team cannot control. Five seconds is a lifetime. Twenty seconds is an eternity. Oh, and then there is the matter of your team playing against a team that is (how shall I put this) just better than yours. Basketball has ceased to be a dribble and shoot game. It is a physical game where size and strength matter. You can make all the free throws in the world, but if you're playing against a team with superior athletes, you're almost certain to lose. Such is life.
So for the next three weekends, I can watch the games with a degree of emotional detachment. This detachment just became more profound after learning I'm OUT of the Warren Buffet Billion Dollar Bracket contest (thanks Oklahoma).
For those of you who are not aware of the "audience participation" aspect of this tournament, there are 34 games played in the first and second round of the tournament and then another 16 games this weekend. That's a lot of basketball. Everyone can get into the act by filling out a 'bracket," the listing of all the teams playing each other and predicting who will win. I filled out a bracket after a thoughtful period of reflection lasting about eleven minutes. I can't be too full of moral outrage at blowing my perfect bracket. I simply did not care that much.
And even if I did, the chances of picking the perfect bracket is really, really slim. How slim, you might ask? Well according to Ezra Miller a guy who's a math prof at Duke University, really slim is 1 in 10 pentillion. What's a pentillion? (I had no clue either.) That is one in 10 billion. Or as I mentioned it's really, really slim. The link to the article with more fun-filled math facts is listed below:
I wonder if anyone will ever pick the perfect bracket. I doubt it. I suppose it is one of the reasons that this is "March Madness." If someone does, then I tip my hat to her or him. To the rest of you whose team is still in the tourney, good luck and enjoy the ride. For those whose team is out, remember, there is always next year.
As for me, I will continue to check my bracket, just to see how my eleven-minute investment pays off. I also will look forward to the Iowa spring game for the football team on April 26th.
Be well my friends,
Such is life.