First off, I would like take a moment to acknowledge the people of Japan, as our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Now for some lighter news. Today is March 14, my personal last day of the year. However, even if you adhere to a more conventional calendar, you must admit today feels different already. This is probably due to DST “springing” our clocks forward Sunday night. (Of course, the change is never truly felt until Monday.)
Today you may also observe people randomly scribbling on pieces of paper in bizarre places: in hallways, elevators, bathrooms, etc. Suddenly, your male friends all seem to have bloodshot eyes, and trouble focusing during conversations. Your mother may even ask you, what is George Mason’s mascot? (It’s a patriot now, but it used to be this thing). You have entered a period of delirium in America, or ‘madness’ one might say, and it only happens in March.
Yesterday, on what has come to be known as “Selection Sunday”, the NCAA selection committee unveiled the field of 68 teams that will compete for this years men’s basketball championship. In the next 72 hours, literally millions of brackets will be filled out in an effort to capture the holy grail of average-joe sports fantasies: The Perfect Bracket.
Ah yes, The Perfect Bracket. Like unicorns, no living person has ever seen one before, but we are sure they exist.
This year, my dad is bravely trying to do something he has never done before — fill out his brackets online. He usually fills them out on paper and I enter them for him. We play the Tournament Challenge on ESPN every year. Mom plays too.
Getting him on the computer is hopeless. If I start reading a web address to him, the following exchange ensues:
“Wait. You’re going too fast. H-T-T-what? What is a ‘forward slash’?”
At that point I give up. Just write ’em down, Dad.
A few hours later, the fax machine starts whirring. It’s gonna be a long night.
But this year, things are different. I told Mom how to download an app that allows people to fill out their brackets online from their phone. Now it’s easy. All you have to do is touch the team you want to win with your finger (for all 63 games) and then push ‘submit.’ To borrow a slogan, it’s so easy a caveman could do it.
Surprise, surprise. He still manages to run into trouble. It won’t let him pick his final team.
I log into his account to see what the problem is, which turns out to be . . . nothing. He did great. He picked all of them.
“But how do you know which team I picked to win?” he inquires innocently.
“Dad. Do you see the Jawhawk beside the words ‘Your National Champion’?”
He feels tricked. “Why doesn’t it just say ‘Kansas’? What if I didn’t know the Jayhawk was Kansas’ mascot??”
All the other lines of the bracket have the names of the teams on them. However, when you select your national champion, it puts the mascot of the team in the champion’s box, without the team’s name. This makes no sense to him.
“There are probably thousands of people all over the country who don’t know that. They need to make things clearer for people,” he says with exasperation.
I cannot help but laugh. “They even have the mascot right beside the name on the line below!”
“Yes, but that is so small you need a magnifying glass to see it. Why do they have to make it so hard?”
My dad is not exactly a techie, but we love him.