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Pools cause real ‘Madness’

March 19th, 2009

No, I do not want to get in on your bracket. The NCAA Tournament is the time of year when college basketball teams realize their “one shining moment” before thrilled fans and the students lucky enough to skip class to see their team survive and advance. Sadly, though, this event doesn’t only bring out the Cinderella’s, but also those people who depreciate all of the games and make you wish you never even saw a bracket before. Here’s one: the kid running the show.“Five bucks. You could win like $400 just fill out the bracket.” Give him your money, you’ll never see it again. You know who he is. Last year he filled out three brackets and submitted them – to himself – and came in first, second and fourth. He swears to God he didn’t cheat.But kid, didn’t I pick all four teams in the Final Four and the national champion? I called that one seed going out early and that ten seed in the Elite Eight, right?Now it’s fine to get involved in these pools – it is fun and adds a little more to the games. But the worst March Madness foe to look out for is the one who thinks he’s an expert. He watched the second half of Duke versus North Carolina game in February, caught a little bit of the season highlights on SportsCenter, maybe even knows a kid from high school who plays Division I basketball. Don’t worry though, he picked the perfect bracket.Little news flash – out of all 63 games, about 40 of them don’t go the way they were supposed to. Since the beginning of the tradition, the only guarantee is parody. So that bracket that you carry with you everywhere you go can stay in your pocket – I don’t care.How about that aunt of yours that always walks away from the office pool with $600? I gave up on filling out brackets a few years ago. No matter how much I compared lineups and schedules and tried picking teams, I can never, EVER, beat this lady. I lost my chance at $40 because some lady liked Maryland’s mascot more than Kentucky’s.Don’t get me wrong, it’s sports at its best – cheers and tears, road-tripping fans, mid-major coaches pouring their souls into the slightest chance of winning a game, and for all of them something pays off.It’s so easy to enjoy, I could never desecrate it with my bold and incredibly wrong predictions. Like I said, it will never go according to plan.Between George Mason going to the Final Four, the kid running the bracket who fills his teams out in pencil, the lady at the office who thinks Blake Griffin is the Irish kid down the street, and Jay Bilas, Jr. who thinks he picked every single game, leave me out of your pool.