Thursday, March 28, 2013


March Madness has hit the Clifford house full force and it would be an understatement to say that the kids are hooked. The boys eat, sleep, and breathe basketball right now. They know the names of all the players on their favorite teams and I am constantly "coaching" make-believe basketball games outside. So far the only advice they heed is when I tell them to shoot more!

Running with this new found passion, Matt decided to print out brackets for all of the kids to fill out this year. Before the games began he sat down and (somewhat painstakingly) took the time to fill out the bracket with each kid. It took a while, but eventually they finished! We finally just resorted to just having them choose by mascot ("The Ducks or the Cowboys?"). More on that later.

Matt and I also filled out brackets and away we went! I'm not exaggerating when I say that the boys watched at least three games that first day (the girls ... not so much). In between games and during halftimes they went outside and played their own games.

After the first round of games on Thursday and Friday, I was feeling pretty good. I had a comfortable lead on the group with my picks and it looked like my strategies of picking minor upsets and staying with mostly top seeds was going to pan out in my favor. BUT ... BUT ... then Saturday and Sunday hit and my bracket was shattered to pieces. Suddenly, cool mascots like the Ducks and the Shockers were trumping my more mundane choices of Bulldogs and Tigers. And as of right now, I'm sitting shakily in third place with an almost 4-year-old hot on my heels!

After this weekend's games, I'm going to be lucky to still be in the game. I contemplated changing my bracket when no one was around, but then I forgot that I made the first cardinal sin when aiming to cheat in family basketball bracket competitions ... I used pen! So now, I'm simply resigned to my fate. Every day Sam lets me know how many checks (correct picks) I have and how many he has. And every day I wonder just how much basketball knowledge do I actually have? Does fours years of college basketball and two years of coaching give me no advantage? What is wrong with me?

The moral of this story is that no matter how hard you try, you are never going to beat the mascot philosophy of picking teams to win the NCAA tournament. You can analyze stats and look at RPI all you want (Matt did and he's STILL losing to a 5 year old) but it simply does. not. matter. Because, when it comes down to it, the Explorers are just cooler than the plain old Wildcats ... and every 5 year old in the world knows it.

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