It’s March 20th at 9:55 AM. I am finishing my coffee. I should be setting up my desk in my Brooklyn living room and get to work.
But my computer pings. Sean says “ When are you going to do a bracket?”
You know a bracket, for March Madness, for college basketball.
Growing up I read D & D books while listening to metal on my Walkman; I went to LARPing summer camp; I played flute in school band; I had a mullet. Not super sporty.
Beyond that my father thought team sports brought out the mob mentality, especially in little boys. My mom was not athletic, and supported me in whatever I wanted to do, except play football (too dangerous and macho) or join the boy scouts (too conformist and militaristic).
Regardless I played in the police activity league: t-ball and basketball. My nerd status was cemented when I excelled at and pursued fencing through the local recreation center.
So when Sean asked if I would do a bracket I easily said no. I’m just not interested.
He goaded me.
For someone who says you’re interested in narrative and culture it really doesn’t seem like it. Sports and politics are the only stories where no one knows who the winner will be. This will be the most important weekend of hundreds of young men’s lives, and millions of people will be paying attention. Also it is about statistics, predictions, and ultimately exploitation. But if you just want to hang out with all the White people in Brooklyn drinking your pour over micro-batch roasted coffee with your beard and tattoos, then that’s cool.
I now have a bracket. Let the madness begin.
Filling out the bracket on ESPN.com was actually fun. It made me want to do a bunch of research on the teams, as well as the top players, and find out more about their lives. It also made me want to do different brackets based on different criteria (geography, cost of tuition, academic rating, sexual assaults on campus, etc). This is the other reason I didn’t want a bracket, i have too many other distractions in my life.