On Thursday afternoon, for the fourth year in a row, I submitted a bracket in our friendly office March Madness competition.
I handed it in to the sports guys, quite proud of myself, the way a pre-schooler would hand his mother a finger painting. (“I did this all by myself! Like a big girl!”) I half expected them to hand me a juice box and tell me to go lay down after I turned it in.
To be honest, a pre-schooler could have filled out my ballot with more skill than I used:
“Marquette? Sounds like market. I like markets. They win.”
This is my process.
In the end, every year my bracket is the same. Syracuse University wins. Every year. Whether they are good, bad or have canceled the basketball program entirely. For me, Syracuse — my hometown — always wins.
Anything else is selected using a highly tuned system that involves colors, mascots, “gut feeling” and pointing at teams with my eyes closed. I have spent years honing this skill.
My fiance, Drew, is not terribly into college basketball. He likes it, in that he was born in Indiana and section 53-98d-32 of Indiana State Code states that most 20-something males must be moderately interested in basketball. But he’s not a die-hard fan, which is great in that I don’t have to pretend to be interested or force myself to pay attention when the game is on. It isn’t great in that he didn’t just fill out my bracket for me.
While Drew doesn’t particularly care if I like basketball in general, he is still pretty hot on getting me to follow the Michigan franchise. Doesn’t matter if it’s football or women’s crew, he doesn’t care as long as I’m following a Wolverine.
He also thinks the way to my sports loyalty is through my closet, because he keeps buying me sports apparel. The new “Michigan Wife” T-shirt he’s been eyeing is cool, but it does not make me want to watch. It makes me want to host game day parties so that I can cook a lot of food and entertain people, which is likely not the point. (Or is it?)
He purchased me a football jersey a few months ago, and being a smart man he ordered me a size that would flatter me. If he had ordered an XXXXL shirt, it would have been stained with my tears in minutes. Instead, he ordered a medium shirt. It still sits in the box, because a medium girl-cut shirt is small enough to fit a fourth-grader.
Maybe I’ll keep it and give it to a daughter if we ever have one. But knowing me, she probably won’t like sports.
Either way, I’ll let her fill out my bracket when the time comes. She’ll probably do a better job than I do.
— Erin Shultz
[friday] editor/Go, Orange!