What-is-March-MadnessIt’s March of 2008 and I don’t know what I’m doing.

I stomp over to the computer in the NSA library. You’re not supposed to stomp in the NSA library, but you’re also not supposed to throw bookshelves, which I’m not, so I’ll take some credit. I go online and count the seconds while the ESPN page loads. It must be taking longer since I’m a first-time visitor. Would that I could remain a never-ever visitor.

What was my teacher thinking? Just what the heck is a bracket? Brackets are like parentheses, only male. (You know, they lack the curves.) But for basketball? Exactly how is one supposed to fill one out? [Except like this?]

I click over to my classmate’s explanatory email which says this should be easy. It also says that if you know nothing about basketball — me — you’re set. So, here goes. Member name. And whatever password. Great, I’m in. Now I’m a member of ESPN and no, I don’t want any emails, offers, or reminders that the sports world still exists. I’m sure that when it dies, I will be the first one at its funeral (incidentally, only to spit on its grave).

Now for the bracket. Jeepers! Are all of these names separate teams? How many Americans think they can jump?

I start clicking as fast as I can, choosing the names I like best.

Notre Dame. That’s auspicious. I’ve never visited the cathedral, but I’ve always liked how they make the “e” go after the “r” in “Notre” instead of saying “Noter,” so I’ll go for Notre Dame.

Tennessee! My roommate Rosalie (you know, the one who has an identity crisis every time she tries to wake up in the morning) is from Tennessee. Tennessee it is.

Not UCLA. I don’t like initials unless they’re like FBI or SEALs or LAPD (especially the way Keanu Reeves yells “LAPD!!!” in Speed). Besides, UCLA sounds too much like NCAA. 

Oh, Kent! Orlando Bloom was born in Kent. I’ll take it.

A billion more random, seat-of-my-impatient-pants choices and I’ve predicted a game so thrillingly dull that even N.D. Wilson (whose fault this is in the first place) would turn it off. The winner? West Virginia. The score? 28 to 26.

It’s March of 2013 and I still don’t know what I’m doing. And no, I’m not going to fill out another one. If I do, I promise to show you how it’s done.