Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brackets and St. Pat's Day

Well, I filled out my brackets for the NCAA tournament. One for our office pool at Breakthrough. One for the pool John, Anita and I have for our home competition in Villa Park.

Rumor is that the winner of our Breakthrough pool (where no money changes hands by the way) will win something quite extravagant. Sounds like an empty promise to me. Hope not. Because I think I've done it this year. Yep. At home the winner is taken to dinner by the two losers.

This whole filling out the brackets thing is kind of interesting. It’s something everyone talks about and pays attention to. It’s an interesting diversion. Lots of money is wagered but the bulk of it is $5-$20 office pool kind of betting. For the legalists in our midst …yes, it’s still gambling but just shut your eyes, ignore it, and maybe have some fun.

You see, I think this is kind of fun. This is a shared activity that’s actually cuts across all the divides in our culture. And it’s fun because it really doesn’t matter. It’s not health care, or the environment. It’s not life and death. It’s something that focuses our national attention on something other than all the ‘junk’ floating around. I’m all for it.

What also makes it fun is that just about anyone can win. The most ardent student of basketball can lose to someone who picks winners just because they like the school nickname. It’s neither art nor science. Everyone can get in on the action.

And if you happen to be an alum of one of the schools in the tourney there’s bragging rights until they lose. Pretty cool. I’m not an alum of any of the schools playing. Undergrad at a DIII school and grad school at an underachieving mid-major keeps my ego in check. I did, however, watch players from K State, Kansas, and Duke play in high school. Doesn’t count does it?

I’ve got Kansas going all the way, playing Duke in the finals. And I’ve got Syracuse being ousted by Gonzaga early on. Watch out for Northern Iowa. I'm predicting at least one win for the Valley champs.

However I’m tempted, on this glorious of all days (St. Pat’s Day for those unlucky enough not to be born Irish) to pick Notre Dame to go all the way. Do the Fighting Irish have what it takes? I think not but they wouldn’t be the worse choice.

Speaking of St. Pat’s Day. The Irish are noted for many things. Ruddy good looks and steely intellect come quickly to mind along with deep seated humility. But the Irish are also known to be people of some faith (with a mischievous twist).

May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.”

Happy St. Pat’s Day.

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