The mood was set. Music in the background, a bowl full of cheese puffs, a pack of brews and my newest masterpiece was sitting there, just waiting to be written. No, I am not talking about a book I am talking about my bracket for the 2014 NCAA Tournament! This is what I live for. This is my calling in life. This. Was the year, that I would score “The Perfect Bracket”. It started out easy. Florida! Arizona! Wichita State! Just then, self doubt kicked in, and everything came into perspective…
1. Question EVERYTHING
In some of life’s events, you are taught to keep your questions to yourself. That is all fine and dandy, but this is my bracket. I am questioning everything! What if this is the year that a 16 seed does it? What if this team’s best player gets injured? What if my bracket isn’t submitted correctly, and gets lost in the darkness that is the internet? I will not allow anything to keep me away from Warren Buffett’s Money. This is my bracket! With it, I will change lives!
2. Go With Your Gut (The Total Recall Rule)
Did I have any reason to pick Wichita State to go deep last year? No! I still can’t name one player on that team! It was all about that gut feeling. In the movie “Total Recall”, a man has a wise oracle in his stomach. Come bracket time, so do I. Sure, it’s not a living, breathing creature like in the movie, but it is there. It guides me as I get to those gray areas. Is there really that much difference between a 5th seed and a 12th seed? The smart money says go with the 5th, but the grumble in my stomach is feeling an upset. Numbers lie, your stomach doesn’t.
3. Superstition Is The Way
Like a fine soufflé, a good bracket is a delicate dish. Do not test it. It will collapse. When I won my bracket pool two years ago, I wore my lucky Tim Tebow jersey when I was filling it out, so why did I test my luck last year by wearing my Nike sweater? I would call myself agnostic on these sports superstitions. Do I know that they are there? No, but I can definitely feel their presence.
4. Memorize Your Bracket
Every year I go to the same sports bar, sit at the same table, and watch the games on the same TV. Nothing grinds my gears more than seeing some amateur in the table next to me checking their bracket after every score update. Do you think this is a game? Memorize it! When one of your children brings home a good paper do you need a list to remember which one it is? Nothing is more embarrassing than having to ask yourself if you picked the latest upset or not. There is no honor It looks bad for you, and anyone associated with you. Your bracket is your baby, learn it’s name.
5. Never Lose Faith
Did your final four become a terrible two? Don’t worry. Did one of your final teams choke in round two? Don’t worry. If you are meant to win, it will find a way to happen. Your bracket is an extension of you. If you have no faith during the hard times of your bracket, what does that say about the way you view life? I once lost one of my final teams in the first round, but stayed strong with the Florida Gators winning it all. It was quite the surreal moment. I know these players are excited, but nothing quite beats the satisfaction of having that winning bracket. I don’t brag. I don’t scream. I just humbly accept that trophy, and walk home, reminiscing about the good things in life.
While a bracket may just be a piece of paper, or a few minutes of clicking aimlessly for some. It is my motivation. It is what drives me. And it is my destiny. Your bracket is an extension of you. Just remember this when you are picking those teams. Who knows? You may learn something about yourself that you never knew before…