I Did an Amateur NCAA Bracket
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Like Most People I Know Nothing About Basketball, But I Did an NCAA Bracket for Fun

Brackets aren't just for boys, you know.

Like Most People I Know Nothing About Basketball, But I Did an NCAA Bracket for Fun

I grew up as the daughter of a huge sports fan. No matter how many times he's tried to drill home the rules of a foul and what a point guard is into my head, it seems that I only have room for snippets of Elton John lyrics and half the script of "Moulin Rouge."

Although I never got into traditional sports much as a kid (2 years of kiddie soccer doesn't count in my book), when I got older I realized a ticket to the heart of any male-dominated conversation in my house is the ability to register an opinion about anyone or anything that has to do with a field, a court, a ball, or a referee. Granted, I've tried to watch football and basketball and baseball to learn the rules of the game, but more often than not I find myself just looking for the ball onscreen while everyone else is disputing what happened in the play.

This year, I decided to make a change. In a fit of procrastination-fuelled energy, I filled out an empty bracket my dad had left on the counter for the 2019 NCAA College Tournament. I knew what March Madness was, and I knew that money had been involved in the past, and as a broke college kid with more important things to do, of course, I spent my Monday night quizzing my dad on which teams to choose.

For those of you in the bracket pool, don't worry. He didn't help me THAT much (and I'm actually beating him right now anyway). I realized as I asked which team had a better defense and where on earth is Seton Hall, it was fun to hear the stories he told of past upsets, notorious teams, and the ferocious spirit of an almost-winner back for another chance.

It took me up until that night to notice that I had always undervalued the amount of knowledge sports fans store in their minds. My dad could tell you the exact score from any given game from any year since his birth (and maybe even prior). He knows players' names, parents', past teams, and more.

On the other hand, when I'd expressed casual interest in sports while in school or in social settings before, I was immediately bombarded with questions to prove my knowledge. While I couldn't identify another player on the Steelers besides Roethlisberger (yes, I had to Google how to spell it), I didn't think I wasn't allowed to like football or basketball or any other popular spectator sport in America unless I had 100% dedication to it. It seemed like a weird irony. I had been made fun of or excluded in the past because I didn't express an interest in sports, but when I genuinely wanted to learn more, I was shunned due to my lack of background knowledge.


Now I'm not saying every sports fan jumps at my throat when I rename Gonzaga's team to Gorgonzola. But there is a standard between both super-sports fans and uninterested parties than one cannot cross the line into the realm of the other. All I'm here to say is that I'm the only one in the bracket pool full of sports geeks that chose Tennessee to win the championship. At the end of it, I'm either going to look really stupid or I'll be a little bit richer. Either way, it was fun to participate and banter back and forth during games and to watch our stats.

I still may interrupt my dad with questions about what a shot clock is, but I cried when UCF almost beat Duke. I've never been emotionally invested in sports (I never take NyQuil, if I need help falling asleep I just turn on a football game), but UCF is my school, and no one thought they stood a chance against the past champ.

The bracket was a chance for me to try something new and learn about something that's important to people I care about. It's also a bit easier to talk at dinner parties when you know what team everyone is referring to because you wrote their names in on the bracket. So whether you have done extensive research or have never heard of the tournament before, I would encourage you to give it a try. You never know what watching sports could teach you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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