March Madness: Burnt Chicken, Imagination Movers, and Rooting For Your Rivals

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March Madness: Burnt Chicken, Imagination Movers, and Rooting For Your Rivals
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The alarm went off at 7:45 a.m. and instead of springing out of bed I did what most American's do—I hit the snooze button. 

For 30 minutes. 

Now 8:15, there was still plenty of time to wake up and enjoy the beautiful Southern California morning with a cup of joe and some neighbors I don't know who like to look down on me from their second and third story perches with disdain. 

Apartment life sucks. 

I pretend not to see them and sip my coffee and notice the scorched fence where I nearly set the building on fire last night while trying to grill some chicken.   

It's a gas grill, which I'm unaccustomed to, and, well, let's say we haven't found our mojo yet.  I'm used to charcoal grills, good old-fashioned Weber's, but the complex where we live forbids the use of charcoal grills becasue of fear of flying ash. 

Oh, the irony. 

If management had seen the three-alarm blaze shooting over our fence last night they might reconsider allowing grills all together. 

Needless to say the chicken was inedible so we ordered pizza.  Ugh.

Moving on, I head back inside and flip on the television hoping to catch some March Madness pre-game insight before the games tip off at 9:30 PST.  My 2 1/2 year old daughter, however, has other ideas. 

Normally she's a late sleeper, rarely waking up before 9:00 or 9:30 and I have come to expect this, count on it in fact.  Of course, the day I'm hoping for some extra "me" time in the morning I don't get it. 

Cries of "Dad!" "Dada!" "Papa!" "Pop!" "Daddy!" "Dad!" "Dad!" "Dad!" pierce the still morning quiet at roughly 200 decibels, causing me to spill coffee on myself.  I grumble to no one in particular and go get my daughter out of bed. 

Her timing is impeccable.  It's 8:50, ten minutes before the CBS pre-game show starts and I can almost hear Greg Gumbel's booming baritone.

"Hi Daddy."  All is forgiven, and I forget about the game(s) for now.  After the diaper changing ritual we head to the living room to settle in, and I casually put the TV on CBS.  She notices.

"Can we watch Imagination Movers?"

"It's not on yet, sweetheart," I tell her, which is true.  Handy Manny is on.

"Oh. Can we watch the Disney Channel, Dad?"

Heavy sigh.  "Of course we can, bub."  I semi-reluctantly flip to the Disney Channel and watch as Manny and his talking tools fix random things but first they need some obscure part from the hardware store which Kelly miraculously has in stock. 

Parents know what I'm talking about.

Handy Manny has saved the day once again and all is right in Sheetrock Hills.  No sooner are the credits rolling that I change the channel back to basketball.  I'm able to squeeze in a few minutes of the first game, BYU vs. Florida. 

I have BYU in my bracket and a minor rooting interest because I graduated from a Mountain West school not named Brigham Young.  I'm just supporting the conference.  Cough.

It's a back and forth game, and Florida leads 18-15 just past the midway point of the first half.  Things are heating up, and I'm hopeful that my daughter has forgotten about the Imagination Movers.

No sooner do I consider this when she asks me to change the channel back.  We watch, rather, she watches as they "get good ideas when you're brainnnnstorminn'!"  Hmmm, maybe you do, unless you're writing.  But I digress.  It's a catchy song, not that I'm paying attention.  Much. 

Commercial break and it's back to basketball.  BYU now leads 35-31 with 50 seconds remaining in the first half.  I never thought I'd say this, but "Go Cougs!" 

I feel sick to my stomach.  Halftime and BYU leads 35-33.  Good game, what I've seen of it.

This goes on for another 20 minutes before she loses interest in television.  Now I can watch uninterupted for a little while. 

BYU takes a seven point lead, 47-40, with five minutes gone in the second half.  The Cougars then push the lead to 13 with just under ten minutes left in the game, and I'm thinking they're going to run away with it. 

Not so fast.

This is basketball where nine points can be made up in less than 20 seconds if all goes right, or wrong, depending on how you look at it. 

The Gators tie it at 68 with 3:27 left in the game.  It ebbs and flows for the next three and a half minutes, finally ending in a 75-75 tie at the end of regulation.

Florida takes the early lead in the first overtime, 79-76, with just over two and a half minutes gone. 

Jimmer Fredette, possibly the best player nobody has ever heard of, has been quiet during this overtime with no points, a missed layup, a blocked shot, a rebound, and a turnover.  Up to this point he's had a great game piling up 27 points. 

BYU comes back to tie the game and send it to a second overtime, where Fredette takes over scoring ten points and leading BYU to an exciting 99-92 victory.  Fredette finishes with 37 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block. 

March Madness is off to a great start, but I only have one suggestion: watch it alone or with friends, but not little ones because it's unpossible (thank you, Ralph Wiggum).

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