Brackets are for the lucky (and simple) folk

Brady Fredericksen

Monday night we’ll witness the biggest game in the college basketball season. The University of Kentucky, led by a quartet of NBA prospects — including one with the most famous unibrow since Bert was trolling around Sesame Street with Ernie — will take on the University of Kansas in a battle of basketball’s royalty.

That’s going to be a great game, but what about your bracket? Yeah, that bracket in your garbage at home, well, next to your garbage can because you missed the basketball hoop hanging above your can when you threw it away in frustration.

Brackets are society’s way of saying, “We like basketball! All of us do! Just watch, we’re going to show you by filling out a piece of paper with all the teams on it!”

They’re a way to either feel really cool or really stupid. Think about it — most people who talk crap about brackets and how great they are at picking games have never actually won a pool. They’re the person whose Final Four is gone by the second weekend.

I don’t care how good you think you are at doings brackets, you’re no better than your friend who picks Witchita State to win it all because they think Witchita sounds really cool.

When President Obama, a guy who probably has more important things to do than labor over whether or not BYU has enough to take down Marquette, is beating you in your bracket, you know it’s luck.

Of course, I’m not calling Mr. Obama simple, I’m just saying the guy doesn’t actually think about who he picks, he has bigger things to worry about, like whether he’s going to take the Israelis or the Palestinians to the next round in his “I Lead The Greatest Country in the World” bracket.

Maybe I’m just being sour because my bracket was a fiery mess. When one of your Final Four teams (UNLV) loses in the first round to a team (Colorado) that only made the tournament because it got hot and won the worst BCS conference in the country, you know it’s luck. Miss Cleo doesn’t even win her bracket pool and she has magic tarot cards that tell her when you’re going to get married and what you’re having for lunch tomorrow.

Brackets aren’t about basketball, nor are they about being good at picking basketball games. Take our very own GV Lanthorn Managing Editor Anya Zentmeyer. In the paper’s for-fun-not-money-that-is-not-legal bracket pool, she finished first. Not only did she finish in first, but she finished in first before the Elite Eight even started!

I don’t want to disrespect Anya — her favorite phrase is, “I love sports!” I love sports too, but c’mon now. The girl chose teams based on seeding, jersey color and whether or not they had a really funny mascot — that’s like a freshman in high school trying to pick out ingredients for a fancy dinner based on their color and how many sexual euphemisms he can make with the spice cumin.

Coming from the “sports” editor who finished in third-to-last place in that bracket, her winning is perfect.

Some people loved Louisville’s red and blindingly, shimmering jerseys so much that they picked them to go all the way to the Final Four. Two weeks ago, we all thought they were idiots, but now we look at them like, well, still like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Brackets are a fun way to care about the little guys. Without brackets, Ohio’s run to the Elite Eight is nothing but a cute story of a team from Athens winning games because they’re from Athens and, hey, that’s like the Athens that’s in Greece!

These useless pieces of paper are a way for everyone to feel like they actually care about basketball — even if it’s just for one weekend each year.

People do a bracket and after they just feel happy. You just think you’re going to be that person who finishes with the perfect bracket. I hate to break it, but you’re more likely to win the terribly annoying Mega Millions’ jackpot than finish with perfection.

Like I said, I’m just a Negative Ned because my bracket was the biggest joke in March. That feeling of happiness is why you do it. We’re not really simple folk, we just really love sports (sometimes) and, like Anya, love to scream it.

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