Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bracket Ball

So today I'd like to talk to you about...brackets. Basketball brackets. Why do they matter? It's almost impossible to always do really well on them, right? And no matter how much research you put in, or how many opinions you have on the top teams, someone who knows absolutely nothing about the sport can just as easily be the one to win it all.

Case in point: me. No, I'm not winning the bracket I'm currently entered in, but I am in second place, which is not bad for someone who doesn't know what an SEC is or who still wonders if Xavier really is a real school.

Aside from picking all the schools with a little "one" next to their names to go to the final four, my picks were all at the height of randomness. My process involved reading the team names, closing my eyes, and trying to visualize someone telling me who had won. So I guess I was quite literally attempting to predict the outcome of the games. And judging from my current standing, I would say that that technique worked even better for me than actually knowing anything about basketball.

So the question returns: why does it matter? If you can know everything about the NCAA and still not be able to rack up as many points as I, a person who still doesn't even really know when March Madness ends, then why bother?

I guess it must end up being for the same reasons that I would agonize over my own picks for the Academy Awards. Just scroll a few entries down and you'll see just how much time I put into my Oscar preparation. It doesn't matter, really, and I won't get everything right. And left up to chance, someone who knows nothing about movies or the Oscars could possibly even do better than me with predicting the winners. It can be frustrating, but I still do it.

This all to say-- even though we may think we know everything about a subject, the odds could be that anyone at all could randomly do better than a so-called expert. So why do we bother, when there's nothing stopping a person who knows nothing about your passion from making a few blind picks shaming you on your own bracket? Possibly because it makes watching more fun. Maybe because we want to brag about our expertise when it's all over. Most likely though, it's probably just the oldest answer in the sports manual: for love of the game.

1 comment:

Annie Parsons said...

"...the odds could be that anyone at all could randomly do better than a so-called expert."

But Valerie, those were not my odds. I fell fast, and I fell hard. :)

So great to meet you! Love blog lurking - I'll have to return the favor. And Juliette is so fabulous - I love mutual friends!

Have you heard Amy Winehouse's song "Valerie"? I'm sure you have... anyway, that's going to play in my head anytime I see your name. :)