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Kate’s Take: The Bracket Racket

one-sad-bracket

Well here we are. Since November, heck since Calipari started, March is what we’ve been waiting for. We’re Kentucky fans aren’t we? We’ve been told over and over how irrational and insane we are for wanting to compete for a national championship year in and year out. I, for one, have embraced my insanity and fully recognize that the last four months have been merely the warm up and now is where the season starts. 29-2 is nice, but we don’t hang banners for 29-2. Indeed, March is where it matters.

Beyond my obvious enthusiasm for all things blue this time of year, my second favorite thing about March is the bracket challenges. Ask me again in April and I’ll tell you that that they are the bane of my existence and the worst thing about the tournament, but as of right now I still have my child-like hope that this year is going to be the year where I clean house. I sign up for every challenge I can think of, make totally obscene bets with co-workers, and walk around with great anticipation for the opening rounds. And then it’s Friday morning of the first week and I realize that my bracket is completely jacked and my only chance of winning anything is if everyone else fell into a coma-like trance and picked the 16 seed to beat the 1 seed. Sometimes I even make it until Saturday morning.

Let me paint this picture for you. After the brackets come out on Sunday evening and I’ve watched bubbles being burst and Nantz and Packer completely slaughter the tournament committee, I sleep on it. I’ve always felt its best to leave important decisions to simmer overnight so I don’t make some rash decision, picking the 13 to beat the 4. Then sometime on Monday I sit down to fill out the bracket.

There are big decisions to be made. Do you go with your gut, your first thought, or do you analyze individual matchups? Do you let emotions get the best of you and take Louisville out in the first round or do you let them bide their time and crush their dreams in the Sweet Sixteen? Do you use one bracket for everything or do you make multiple ones in hope that odds will be on your side?

I feel like Ralphie from the Christmas Story, writing my thesis on why I want a Red Ryder bb gun for Christmas. I take my time and consider each matchup. And then when I’m done I set about entering in challenges and making wagers. For four days I walk around imagining myself on ESPN talking about how I possibly managed to pick the perfect bracket. I can almost see CBS handing me that million dollar check.

And then the house of cards comes falling down. I pick the wrong 12 seed to upset; my sleeper team lays an egg; my final four pick goes out in the first round. All my ESPN and money dreams are ruined and I’m left with only praying that I can beat my sister (you know her as “the cutest mascot picker”) in our Facebook challenge.

But after ‘One blogging shining moment’ is played and all goes back to normal, I forget the pain (kind of like how women forget childbirth) and go back to dreaming of next March when I’ll be on First Take discussing my bracket-picking methods and vacation plans for my winnings.

At least this year I’ll be too warm in the glow of a Kentucky National Championship too worry about losing all my money. Don’t worry, I’m not picking the Cats. That way its a sure thing that they will win.

Article written by Katie Martin