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Mad Marchness

Yes, I know it's really March Madness, but not in my house. When the Lovely Louise and I first got together I realized she cared nothing for sports. Now, I believe that when two people move in together there are negotiations that should take place—and for me and Louise, that meant sports negotiations.

I reassured her that I would not spend every Sunday in front of the television watching sports, but I insisted that there were certain events I absolutely had to see:

  1. Out of the 162 baseball games they play each season, the Red Sox only play 18 games against the Yankees. I told Louise that I needed to watch those games, but I could skip the rest.

  2. If the Red Sox made the playoffs, I had to see every game.

  3. Since there are only 16 Patriots games each season, I had to see every one—and of course, the playoffs.

  4. I didn't need to see the Celtics games unless they made the playoffs. Then every game was important.

  5. I didn't (and still don't) care about the Bruins.

  6. March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament. Must see every game!

Since that time, you can forget number one. Didn't work out. Numbers two, three, and five are still in play. Number four is hit or miss. That leaves us with March Madness.

It's that time of year again, and I'm gearing up to make my bracket picks. I've started to watch league games, listening to the experts on “bracketology,” looking at strength of schedule and who's trending at the right time. In other words, I spend some time and effort educating myself. When the picks are made, I spend a lot of time agonizing over my picks. Not so the Lovely Louise.

I can still remember the first year she decided that she wanted to fill out a bracket to see how she would do. When she finished, I was surprised—she’d made some very clever and insightful choices, and I marveled at how much time she must have invested in learning college basketball. I decided to inquire about her reasoning.

Me: “Butler is a great pick. How did you choose them?”

Louise: “We have butlers in England.”

Me: “I see you have Louisville going all the way. What's your reasoning for that?”

Louise: “Their name has Louise in it.”

Me: “Gonzaga in an interesting pick. I agree that they're very underrated, and their guard play is terrific.”

Louise: “Their name sounds like Gorgonzola, and I like cheese.”

Me: “Arkansas is another reasonable pick. Why them?”

Louise: “I used to live there.”

And on it went. Eventually, I just shook my head and gave up. Every team she’d picked had a reason just like the ones I've reported above. I’d spent hours analyzing my choices, and she’d picked one team because she liked cheese? I'm going to slaughter her, I thought.

In the first two rounds of thirty-two games that year, I did quite well. I picked 28 winners.

Louise picked 29.

WHAT? Are you serious? As serious as a heart attack! I'm not even making it up—this really happened. Of course I killed her in the later games, but for those first two days she was The Queen, and I had to call her Daddy.

This year, she's getting ready to make her picks again. She hasn't decided what to base her choices on, but I think I know what she's considering. It might be the team's colors, or their mascots (clearly a Memphis Tiger would just eat up a Connecticut Husky) or the cities she'd most like to visit. But I already know a couple of her picks.

She'll pick Louisville for the reason above. She'll pick Georgetown because she has a son named George. And of course they still have butlers in England, and she still likes Gorgonzola cheese.

My concern is that this year Gonzaga is 30 – 1, and they’ve just dropped from number one to number four in the rankings. They're motivated and just might run the table. I'd hate to think that she’ll win the tournament just because she likes a damn cheese.


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