Sincerest apologies to Oregon


The White House

President Barack Obama jokes with players from the Oregon State University basketball team in the Oval Office on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 2012. The team’s head coach is Craig Robinson, brother of First Lady Michelle Obama. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


(Warning: this story is mostly pointless and reprimanding my past self on an insignificant topic in the cosmic scheme of things. But, then again, everything is insignificant in the grand, random soup of life. I’m sorry for whatever existential crisis that past sentence might have caused, I didn’t really want to read it either.)

Anyways, topic change, I have never been good at march madness brackets. I know that they are mostly (or all) is chance, but I’ve still managed to always be bad at them.

We used to do them as a family every year. I’m not sure when we stopped, but my mom, my dad, my brother and I would fill out our brackets on paper. My choices were usually completely arbitrary. One year I did it by mascot, one year by my favorite place of the two. One year my brother just read me the names and I picked one as quickly as a could. I looked at the seeds, sure, but most of it was entirely random.

Maybe that’s why it always spiraled downwards. Maybe it was because I was in elementary school. Maybe it was divine intervention.

I’d like to think all of these choices are equally likely.

Anyways, after we filled them out we would put them on top of the fridge (for some reason I was never aware of) next to one of my dad’s many potted plants, and the games would begin. I watched a lot of them with my family, but I didn’t keep track of how I was doing throughout the bracket. Maybe I knew that it would all be futile in the end (a metaphor for life? I hope not.)

One year I chose Oregon to win it all. At that point I was a little older, and I based things partly on the seeds of the teams. My elementary-self decided that I was morally opposed to teams with a one or two seed, so I chose a number three seed–Oregon. Three was also my number in basketball. That was also the year that I decided I had a deep-seeded, vehement hatred of Duke. To this day, I have no idea why. It doesn’t stem from anything, and nothing prompted it. I knew neither where the college was or who played on their team. I just knew that I hated them, and that was enough for me.

I hadn’t followed my bracket up until one game that I watched by myself. It was Oregon. They lost, I never forgave them and I stopped filling out brackets.

That’s a bit harsh and not exactly true, as I still liked them, but I felt like they had personally decided to lose just to offend me.

This year, in the half hour before they were due, I decided to end my streak of bracket-less Marches and quickly one out. I stuck with my elementary-self’s unexplained abhorrence of Duke, and I almost stuck with Oregon again because of their number three seed, and I thought it fitting that I would start again with them.

In the end, I changed my mind and continued with my day.

If they win in their first final-four showing since they won the first tournament in 1939, I will cry and invest everything I can in the creation of a time machine and tell my elementary-self that it’s okay. Redemption will come (A metaphor for life? I hope.)