There are few things I find more annoying than walking around the office in late March and listening to some random blow hard talk about how his "picks" are doing well.
You know darn well which "picks" I'm talking about.
NCAA Tournament brackets are all the rage when the calendar hits March, year in and year out. From the elderly lady on the bus, to the homeless guy asking for change, to your best buddies, to your boss. Everyone's filling them out, and everyone's talking about them.
Let's examine this for a moment, shall we?
Completing a bracket online, or in paper form, and reviewing that bracket to yourself to see how you've done, is perfectly acceptable. I have no gripes with that.
It's the incessant need to share the results of this activity, which is about as knowledge-based as the roulette wheel, which drives me up a wall.
I don't need to know about how your 12th seed upset your 5th seed, and how you're "still alive" with your final four.
I just don't care. Neither does anyone else, except you.
The most ridiculous demonstration of this is the person who boasts about the fact that they succeeded in "winning" their bracket pool. Does winning mean you know more than the next guy (or girl) about college hoops? Absolutely not.
Winning simply means you were lucky, and lady luck fell on your side of the fence this time around. Incidentally, this same person fails to inform you of their "other" nine brackets, all of which failed to win any pools.
Would these same individuals boast about how "smart" they were for playing the lottery, and winning five bucks? Or would they proclaim it luck, rightfully so? Would they mention the 40 losing tickets they bought, in addition to their one winner, which places them at a net loss for the day?
I retired from fantasy athletics several years ago, and my retirement came partially from corporate America's need to add fantasy sports websites to their blocked sites list.
In addition to being unable to access the fantasy sports sites during the work day, my annoyance grew with individuals who believed it to be imperative that we know "[his] guy" just scored while watching a given baseball or football game.
"I want the Pats to win today, but Kurt Warner's my quarterback, so I hope he throws for 325 and 3 TDs." Yeah that sounds healthy.
Nothing annoys me more than this behavior, aside from the need to hold a laptop while watching the game, so that this same individual can eye his "fantasy team" while the game is going on. Loudly going off about how their "sleeper" pick just scored another touchdown, and they "took a flier" on the guy in the late rounds and it has paid off.
This is the lowest of the low. Removing one's own enjoyment of the actual live game, all to invest in "watching" a list of names and statistics on a computer screen. Baffling and ridiculous, to say the least.
My retirement as a fantasy athlete, due to the above ridiculousness, included the departure of NCAA tournament brackets from my life. What a glowing relief. I now find my March Madness enjoyable, relaxing, and fun. I watch all of the games, and I don't have any paper brackets in my lap.
The true humor in all of it is when an elderly woman who has never even tuned into a basketball game (let alone watch it) wins the pool. Does this end Johnny Bracket's need to tell us about his respective picks? Unfortunately, and confusingly, it does not.
I look forward to this year's tournament, so long as I'm not somewhere that Jonathan Bracket is seated to my side, announcing throughout the game "I picked these guys to win tonight!"
Spare me, please.
I'd like to watch a basketball game for the enjoyment of competition and in the absence of hearing a peep about your pathetic "picks."
Thanks for your cooperation.