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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Deadline for Bracketology

For many of the more important things in life, I wait until I'm up against a deadline to get around to doing them, and filling out my NCAA bracket this year was certainly no exception. In fact, in the time it took me to do so online, my computer's battery indication went from black, to red, to little sliver of red making this post a time-sensitive situation as I am not about to sit at a table right now when the couch is already an inferior substitute for the bed I crave. This year's picks seem more in the dark than ever, probably because the very lousy performance of my alma mater's basketball team was SO BAD that it did not warrant a trip to the big dance. There was less reason to follow college basketball as there was less joy to be had in watching it, for me personally. As a result, I'm far more out of step with the realistic odds of my gut feelings being right than I usual am. My southwest and southeast brackets were re-worked several times, and now I'm not exactly positive how or where they happen, but I do know I threw some upsets in there. And I suppose that is what makes the tournament truly great - the potential for upsets from any team, any time, anywhere, any size school, any person, any shot - to change the fates of the expected, the oddsmakers, the statisticians, the broadcasters, everyone. Writing that sentence I realize I've written about my love of the tournament and its endless opportunities in crockpots of years past. This sounds familiar!

And in good news - it's never too late for an upset. Two of mine today -
1. The neighbors who drive me nuts on occasion know my name and specifically said that if they were too loud I should just let them know because sometimes it's hard for them to know what I can hear or what is too loud.

WHAT?!? This was shocking - SHOCKING - to me as it came from the neighbor I consistently believed hated me as there was not a whole lot of neighborly friendliness going on between us. Like, not even hellos were exchanged to the point that I stopped trying. I'd come to the live and let live place of peace with this situation (while sure, my selfish desire for neighborly pleasantries and mutually respected noise boundaries might have made me sometimes skew a bit live and let die, I'm not perfect), and out of nowhere, I not only got a hello, I got a confirmation of my name, and an offer to respect mutually agreed upon noise boundaries! I even got some friendly neighbor banter! I could not believe it. I have no idea what turned the tide on this. But it was like if suddenly the standoffish girl in the cool clique at school singled me out to tell me she loved my shoes and wanted a pair just like them. What? Me? Amazing.

Yes, of course I spent some time mired in paranoid thoughts that maybe I'd yelled at the walls or spoken really loudly while unlocking my door about how I wished they'd shut up but also say hello, or something that was actually awful that had given them a clue about my desires. But it all seemed so sincere, I'm not going to overthink it and will wait for the flaming bag of poo on my doorstep to float new theories about passive-aggressive neighborly love.

2. I publicly and intentionally watched a tournament game with others who were also interested in basketball and the outcome of a game with more than passing fancy!
Yes, when the initial alma mater fails, why not try grad school? Delightfully and surprisingly, an entire group of friends planned to watch tonight's play-in round together and hope that we would in fact have a dog in this fight (our dog has been taken on a drive to a farm where he'll be able to run around and play a lot more....). Much like I'd written off a friendly neighbor relationship, I'd kind of written off the experience of a group game watch for the NCAA tourney, at least until really late rounds when maybe it'd be an inescapable activity, given the lack of participation from a team I know some people care to watch. This surprise game spirit was a totally unexpected fun binge in the middle of the week, as well as extremely pleasing to those of us who enjoy sports.

And battery warning given, LET'S POST THIS ONE AT THE BUZZER!!!!!

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