I have a passing interest in college sports. As in, if I'm passing a tv when a sporting event is on, I'll glance at it, maybe pause if something particularly exciting is happening, then keep on moving. I sorta-kinda follow Illinois basketball and football because I grew up here and I have to. It's the law. You can look it up.
But come March, I get very excited about the NCAA basketball tourney. I fill out my bracket and then check the stats obsessively to see which picks get highlighted as wins and which ones get slashed. I'm not in a pool this year, I'm doing it just for my own amusement. Yes, I am easily amused.
I have no clue about the players, conferences, coaches, or the strengths and weaknesses of each team. But I have a very scientific selection process - and it does NOT involve mascots or uniform colors, thankyouverymuch.
Here at the end of the first round, I have 21 wins and 11 losses. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Last night I actually watched the games and found myself cheering for Wisconsin and THE Ohio State University. Do you know how hard that was for a girl from Illinois?? It's all about the brackets, baby - I wanted them to win so I had more highlighted teams on my sheet, not because I really want them to advance in the tournament. Wisconsin came through for me (Cheeseheads really are nice people) but THE OSU lost in the second OT to that cute little Siena team. They're plucky, those Saints, and I might have to root for Siena to win it all, which would completely screw my picks.
As far as Illinois' performance in the competition, I still can't talk about it. I'm almost as depressed as Chester Frazier. I wanted to give him a hug and a cookie, poor boy - he looked completely heartbroken at the end of the game and I'm sure he will spend the rest of his life cursing his injured hand, wishing he'd been able to play, and wondering how different the outcome would have been if he could.
There's always next year... (yep, kinda-sorta Cub fan, too.)