March Insanity

A week or so ago I started noticing a trend in Facebook status updates from a (very) few of my friends. The updates all revolved around the imminent NCAA basketball tournament; expressing great excitement at the hours of basketball watching that lay ahead.

All I could think when I read said updates was: ‘I bet Jason would LOVE to be married to so-and-so.’

To say my interest in sports (and watching sports) is minimal, would be an understatement. My interest, previously limited to following professional tennis, is for all intents and purposes…dead. Non-existent.

I mean, if Ball State University made it into the tournament, which it did in the early and late nineties, I would definitely watch their game(s). But beyond that….I couldn’t give a hoot about the particular teams or the games. Or the ‘madness’.

But for reasons unknown, this year Jason ‘invited’ me via Facebook to fill out a bracket. I obliged – mostly because he brought it up twice one night. But seeing as I hadn’t even watched a basketball game in at least three years, it wasn’t entirely easy to complete a bracket in a semi-thoughtful way.

So I devised some criteria for myself.

  1. Generally, pick the time that is ranked higher.
  2. If rankings are fairly similar, choose the team whose name you recognize or are slightly familiar with.
  3. If neither name is particularly familiar, choose the one that ‘sounds’ more victorious.

Thus far my bracket picks, made with the aid of my well thought-out criteria, are panning out relatively well. But I’ve been made aware of the handicap of my rather archaic knowledge of NCAA teams and victories.

Last I heard, Gonzaga was a great team – but apparently they haven’t made it to the Sweet Sixteen for three years. Ditto for Duke. And Missouri….I could have sworn I ‘remembered’ them being good as well. But maybe that was in the early 90’s. Jason laughed out loud when he saw how favorably I ‘remembered’ this particular team.

It’s possible I picked them to win… the whole thing.

Woefully outdated knowledge of basketball aside, the experience has also unleashed crazy competitive Nicola. I really thought she fell by the wayside in early college.

Instead, I’m obsessively checking to see the scores of whatever games are on. Followed by obsessively checking Facebook to see what my ‘standing’ is among my group of competitors. Followed by dishing out a bit of trash talk on my sister and husband’s Facebook walls. When warranted.

Before last night I’d avoided actually watching any games – which, to me, is the best possible scenario. Because the games tend to get dull. But last night, without any exciting Friday night plans, and desperate to see which one of us had the best picks, Jason and I faithfully watched the ends of the Florida State and Ohio State games.

Within two seconds I heard myself yelling at the computer screen like (a) someone who actually understands the game of basketball; (b) someone with an allegiance to a particular team; or (c) someone who spent several years of her life playing the game.

And I’m none of those. But that didn’t stop me from expressing my outrage at (what I consider to be) bad plays. I heard myself yelling at the players for not fouling the opposing team as precious seconds dwindled away. I yelled at people for calling time-outs. I found fault with the coaches and the players and pretended I actually knew what I was talking, err yelling, about.

Jason was both highly amused and frightened.

This afternoon, all four Johnsons gathered in front of the computer screen for the final minutes of the Purdue game. I was very interested in the outcome, as I had picked Purdue to win (because they’re from Indiana – that’s why) and Jason hadn’t. Also, my new nemesis – Stan, a friend of ours who consistently outranks us in the standings – had not picked Purdue either. It was my only chance to gain a little ground.

I instructed my oldest to cheer for the team in black, but he refused. ‘I like the white clothes better,’ he decided. Which pleased his dad to no end. And within minutes Mr. G, too, was expressing outrage at the computer screen. ‘What are those guys doing‘ he said. The exact same words that had come from my mouth just minutes before. Jason looked at me with raised eyebrows. I toned it down after that.

Luckily the little people were out of the room at the end of the game, when Purdue squeaked by with a two-point (I think?) win.

‘Eat it, Stan!’ I yelled triumphantly.

Even though he is still ahead of me.

4 thoughts on “March Insanity

  1. Yeah, Jason tried to get me to watch a baseball game last night. I’m not sure any bracket or semblance of competition could get me to watch one of those…

  2. Ah yes the wife is destroying me in the madness that is the ncaa tourney and though she refuses to watch the nation’s pastime with me I have a secret weapon. Today I received and email inviting me to participate in an NHL hockey playoff pool. What that entails i have no clue, but I am sure I can convince her to join as a cultural experience and we can take our two ruffians to the nearest sports bar and cheer on some gap toothed mullets as they skate around and beat the snot out of each other.


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