Someone Has to Be Dead Last

11 Apr

I got an unusual email at work: turned out I was dead last in my company’s March Madness contest. Now, not really a fan of college basketball, this was not surprising, but the randomness of this particular set of games is fascinating.

The NCAA Tournament is probably one of the strangest events on the calendar year; last year, the whole COVID thing shut it down, so it seemed extra important to get it back up as one of those signs of normalcy. Every year, I catch maybe one or two of those games, and remember to watch my bracket get busted every weekend. It’s fun, but despite the analysis that goes into seeds, the secretary who pays zero attention to the games is more likely to win, because the randomness of the contest makes it impossible to predict.

This year was particularly strange, because the seeds turned out to be dead wrong. Normally, the selection committee has enough games to watch to get a pretty good idea of who has a stronger team than most . Sure, one or two teams upset the expected rivals, but the last several tournaments, it was safer to “play chalk,” or just pick the higher seeded team.

Not this year… A 16 seed knocked off a 1 seed right away and an 11-seed (UCLA) went to the Final Four! I mean… Abilene Christian? Who saw those guys upsetting so many teams? Since I barely pay attention to college ball, this was one of those strange confluence of experiences. So many games had been cancelled this year due to COVID that the selection committee did NOT have its normal history of games to draw from. Without that history, the seeds were poorly chosen, and everyone’s brackets got busted immediately.

So when I fill out two brackets, one sensible, the other wacky, and both go nowhere… I’m honestly not surprised that I’m in last place. But on the plus side, that means I didn’t have to pay the entrance fee, so… yea?

The randomness of the event is what makes it great, but as I said, I don’t have much skin in the games. Have you followed the games and been surprised? Let me know in the comments below! And if you managed to win some money, why not buy one of my books. However, if you didn’t make $1.99, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. It’s not a bad consolation prize. 🙂

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