Friday, March 17, 2017

A Family that NCAA Brackets Together, Stays Together*

*OK. So it doesn't roll off the tongue. But I'm hoping it's still true. 

With two teenage boys (one of them off to university in 18 months), we often talk about Life Skills. 
• Let me show you how to work the washing machine. It's a life skill. 
• Let me show you how to pump gas. It's a life skill.
• Let me show you how to roast a chicken. It's a life skill. 
• Let me show you how to fill out a NCAA bracket. It's a life skill. 

Perhaps the last one is a stretch, but maybe it's not if the boys ever live in America, where March Madness is a religion all its own. Regardless, we spent Monday night instructing them on the fine art of filling out an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship bracket. 

As a proud graduate of current national champions Villanova University, this is not a life skill I take lightly. So I did my best to explain how to do it, without letting them get bogged down in too much detail (RPI and strength of schedule, I'm looking at you). I also noted the other schools in which we had a vested interest: Northwestern (where we went to graduate school), University of Virginia (nephew is a current student, brother-in-law an alum), and University of Dayton (my brother is an alum).

To make things interesting, we all got a bracket to fill out. And when I say ALL, I mean all of us, including Buddy the Dog. If you're wondering, Buddy picked this way: all vested interest schools got a bye in the first round. After that, a coin was flipped to determine the winner. This created some unusual picks, such as Troy beating Duke in the first round (one can only hope) and North Dakota in the final four. But Buddy also has Villanova winning it all-- it won all the necessary coin tosses-- so I can abide by that decision. 

The rest of the family also had Villanova winning it all. I don't know if they did this because they believe the Wildcats can repeat as National Champions, or if they feared my wrath if they picked another team. Doesn't matter. I think it's a winning strategy. 

Watch this space to see how March Madness ends up in our house-- either in tears or in ecstasy. There is no middle ground, as far as I'm concerned.