ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Big Dance

Ah, March Madness. A three-week stretch when heart rates elevate, GPA’s drop and benchwarmers slay air guitar solos after timely three-point shots. No, seriously. Those scrubs can rock a bass with the best of them.

You’ll hear legendary broadcaster Dick Vitale yelling, in his trademark voice, about “mid-majors” and “diaper dandies.” You’ll see a very short man, claiming to be a “bracketologist,” predicting which teams get bids to the tournament. 

But what is all this “hoopla” about?

(See what I did there?)

Well, the annual tournament has brought us some electrifying moments. Remember “Jimmer Time?” Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette was lethal from beyond the arc when he led his BYU Cougars to the tournament’s “Sweet Sixteen” in 2011. The guy was unconscious from long range. I mean he was literally unconscious. He had been drinking all day.

Just joking, of course. They don’t even allow coffee at BYU.

Anyway, take Virginia Commonwealth, for example. In that same 2011 tournament, Shakka Smart’s 11 seeded squad rattled off five improbable wins en route to an appearance in the “Final Four,” where they lost to 8 seed Butler.

Butler was a special “Cinderella.” Redundant, I know. But the Bulldogs tied for the lowest seed ever to make the National Championship game in the 64-team tournament era.

And how about Florida Gulf Coast last year? “Dunk City” was born as Andy Enfield’s army alley-ooped its way through 1st round opponent Georgetown and 2nd round opponent San Diego State.

You see, the beauty of March Madness it that anything can happen. Single-elimination tournaments allow for a plethora of “upsets.” They also allow for nimble-footed kamikazes, Girl Scouts on low-grade beaver tranquilizers and wheelchair-bound Irishmen named “Patches O’Houlihan.” Or maybe that’s just Las Vegas Invitational Dodgeball tournaments.

But most of all, the tournament brings us hope. Hope that we will nail that 13 over 4 upset pick in the first round. Hope that our “Final Four” teams will still be alive in the “Elite Eight.” Hope that grandma won’t call after the first round, berating you for suggesting that a 16-seed could beat a one-seed.

Yeah, you never said that. In fact, it wasn’t even your grandma who called. It was some random lady.

She’s not well.

In order to avoid that fateful call from your fake grandmother, you must prepare for the Madness. You can’t just waltz into a convenient store, grab a Sports Illustrated, pick up your real grandma’s dentures and fill out a bracket before anatomy class.

Here are my “Top 5 tips” to help you survive the Mayhem.

Tip #1: Utilize the “Boss Button”

If you’re in work, in class, or in the comfort of your own bed but just want to feel like you’re being productive, listen up. While watching live tourney games online, there is a secret button that, when clicked, will display fake emails, fake spreadsheets, fake pie charts, you name it. If your teacher or employer walks by, just hit the button and, who knows, you may win employee of the month.

Tip #2: Re-watch DodgeBall to get psyched

As I alluded to earlier, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story can get you pumped for the excitement of a single-elimination tourney. Rejoice as Pepper Brooks provides insightful analysis and thought-provoking anecdotes. He’s the best in the biz. 

Tip #3: Only fill out one bracket

I’m not saying that you can’t enter your bracket in multiple pools. Go nuts with that. I’m saying that you should pick the same winners, for every matchup, in the brackets you fill out. You can’t half-heartedly root for both teams in a game. That just ruins the fun of March Madness.

Tip #4: Engage in “Water Cooler” talk

Office workers have been chatting around the water cooler since the dawn of time. It’s the most efficient way to waste clock on a lunch break. College students can benefit from this mindless gossip, as well. So study up on random March Madness tidbits. Maybe you’ll make a new friend in class. Maybe you won’t. Eh, I don’t really care either way.

Tip #5: Enjoy it while it lasts

Kevin Malone, of The Office, begins betting on absurd things in the episode, “Safety Training.” He bets on whether or not Creed will realize his apple had been replaced with a potato. He oversees bets on how long Kelly can talk about Netflix. And he bets on how many jelly-beans are in Pam’s jar. Kevin blames his incessant betting on being bored after March Madness. Hey, it happens to the best of us.

The guy just could not handle life without a bracket.

No comments:

Post a Comment