I know absolutely nothing about college basketball. I fake interest in it when it comes up in conversation, and I nod my head as if I know what is happening in a game.
This year, my interest in March Madness was only piqued because of the chance to win some cold-hard cash.
I decided to embark on a journey of partaking in my office's March Madness bracket tournament because not only am I new in my office, but I also saw a chance to come out on top.
Luckily for me, a good portion of my competition is just as clueless about March Madness and the teams involved as I am, so I knew my playing field was not at a complete disadvantage.
Our male population is riveted for the month of March (and into April), and it's an unstoppable force, driven by our need for greed. I can say that from the very general knowledge and news watching I do, I knew which teams to root for.
I know Kentucky is a frontrunner, and I'm friends with enough "bros" to pick up some March Madness information if I ask them to repeat something and speak slower. When it comes to college sports statistics, it's as if they're speaking in German about astrophysics.
As I took my first glance at my bracket, I knew I couldn't think about it too much; I just had to go with my gut. I've always found that when it comes to betting, you have to go with your gut.
Down the bracket I went, filling it out with such ease and speed that my hand was moving faster than I could think.
My strategy was, for every few games, I would choose the "underdog" team I think would possibly upset the big team. It's happened before (i.e. Gonzaga, Florida Gulf Coast) and I wanted to try my luck.
Within a few minutes, my bracket was complete and our tournament master was perplexed by how I had completed it so quickly. I just needed to rip the perpetual Band-Aid off and do it because if I bothered to research the teams, I'd never be able to make a decision.
Later that night, I decided to tune into ESPN (which is not something I do often) and I heard some March Madness conversation.
Most sports analysts chose Kentucky to take it all the way this year (so did four guys on spring break who tattooed 40-0 on themselves signaling Kentucky's win). I felt confident.
After the first round of 32 games, I had 22 out of 32 games correct. I was ecstatic. My chance at winning some well-deserved cash looked even brighter.
Fast-forward to the tournament master tallying up the scores, and I'm somehow in fourth place. My heart dropped, and for a moment, I thought about how I just lost all this money (that wasn't really mine to begin with).
Even though my initial investment was only $10, I treated that $10 like it was $100 and knew I had to do some serious praying to the NCAA gods that my teams did better than all the others.
I'm not a betting man. I hate placing wagers or bets, mainly because I have terrible luck in that department. The most luck I've had was when I went to Vegas with my girlfriend and we won $1500 on the slot machines. Other than that, my luck with gambling has been nil.
I'm amazed at how many people take March Madness brackets seriously, as if it's a form of income. I think the perfect bracket gets you $50,000 (again, I don't pay much mind to those details), but I don't think that amount equates to the potential of having a perfect bracket.
Shouldn't it be worth more if you perfectly forecast every outcome? Maybe it should afford you the ability to become the President of the United States of America (even our fearless leader had Kentucky going all the way).
At the end of the day, the young men who are playing in the NCAA tournament are the real winners in all this. They're laughing at all these millions of people partaking in this annual ritual of guessing who's going to succeed and who is going to fail.
March Madness may mean a lot to many, but to me, it's just an opportunity to put some extra money in my pocket.
It's all fun and games until someone's bracket is completely busted and a viral tirade is uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to see.