The morning of March 16th, I woke up to a Facebook Group invite to an "All Girls Bracket". This was something a few friends and I chatted about in a group text the night before. Our husbands were all in multiple brackets and we decided we wanted apart of the action. The stakes: a bottle of wine. Needless to say, we were very invested.
We agree not to take it too seriously, allowing ourselves to choose teams based off silly things like their colors. According to ESPN and CBS, brackets would be locked in by noon EST that day, so I printed a bracket and grabbed my pen.
After a quick moment of examining the teams on the bracket and trying to remember what I knew about college basketball outside of the Big12, I chose my winner. From there, I filled out the rest of my bracket. It started easy, usually choosing the higher ranked team. But when I hit the Sweet 16, I realized upsets are a guarantee every year. (see a 2015 ISU game for reference). So I began to mix it up more. In the end, I had North Caroline winning. I took a picture and uploaded it to our Facebook group.
Once my bracket was completed, I set my it aside and moved on with my day. It wasn't until 6 hours and 5 games later that I received a message. I had chosen the winner of all 5 games so far! I was equal parts shocked and excited. I was hooked. A few hours later, I was checking scores of games with teams I had never heard of before. I was having so much fun. Despite the silliness of it all, it was quite thrilling to be invested in this culture affair for the first time.
Yes, that is right. I never filled out a bracket before this year. Honestly, it never appealed to me. I didn’t see the value of investing X amount of dollars into something that couldn't hold my attention. So I was very surprised when I saw how much fun I was having with March Madness.
Below are some phrases I uttered multiple times throughout the last few weeks.
"I knew I should have picked Northwestern! My bracket is screwed now!"
"I can't believe Iowa State lost…"
"Am I actually rooting for Kansas right now?"
"Three of my Final Four teams are out already!"
"Well at least North Carolina is still in it."
"Oh My God! I won!"
And I did, I really did. I actually won my first bracket! It was just so much fun than I ever expected. My friends and I fully plan on doing this again next week (same stakes of course!)
As always, thank you for reading, XO-