HOW’S YOUR BRACKET?

A Cinderella Story

 

I’ve just discovered something new.  Which is great actually because I’ve been going through, to put it mildly, a bit of a slump.  I won’t sugarcoat it:  it’s been a bad time.  And at my age I’m not sure you could even call it a middle-aged crisis anymore, which really sucks.  Life has felt small, mean, and tough.  And while I know that everyone has ups and downs in this life,  lately I sure did feel like screaming at the universe “HEY!!  Universe!  Throw me a frickin bone here!”  Then something entirely unexpected came along just to remind me that life is in fact interesting, inspiring, hilarious, and vast:  I got introduced to March Madness, and the whole crazy world of Sports Center, ESPN, etc.

I do realize this has been going on for quite a long time, I’m not a complete idiot and you certainly can’t entirely avoid the sports headlines, but frankly I always ignored it.  Gonzaga?  Oh really?  Is that a type of cheese?  Kansas State?  Ugh.  How boring.  Purdue?  Whatever.  Then my brother, who now lives in London but does love to follow his favorite American sports stuff, sent me a strange text out of the blue: “Be sure and fill out your March Madness bracket in time!  We are all in!!!“.  I was sure he sent this to the wrong person so I texted back “Huh??“.

What is this “Madness” of which my brother doth speak?

Huh??

Anyway, to make a long story short, I enlisted the help of my friend Jeff who lives in Kentucky and definitely takes part in such foolishness and I FILLED OUT A BRACKET!!!  It’s easy!  Try it!  But then…well…I did set a small wager with my brother so I had to start watching the games and the updates and the backstories and the predictions and oh boy!  This. Is. Amazing. Life-Affirming.  Stuff.  Let me explain:

Generally speaking I’m more of a theater/literature/philosophy person, but let me tell you:  SHAKESPEARE HAS NOTHING ON SPORTS CENTER.  The feuds, the rivalries, the dramatic upsets!  The characters…villains, heroes, charlatans!!  How have I not known about this??  A few examples from just ONE episode of SC:

  • Alvin Gentry, coach of the New Orleans Pelicans:  OUTRAGE over bad calls that have gone on ALL SEASON!  His players have been PERSECUTED for God’s sake!!
  • Stan Van Gundy, coach of the Detroit Pistons:  also OUTRAGE at the way his players are being treated!!!  It’s absolutely DISGRACEFUL!  And he’s speaking up for the first time!!!
  • Leonard Hamilton, coach of Florida State:  Mature wisdom, calm reflection, and a virtuous modesty over an amazing and apparently quite unexpected victory.
  • The entire team from the University of Virginia:  Bitter tears, extreme frustration, and a RENDING of their uniforms at having lost to a NOTHING team whose mascot is a RETRIEVER for God’s sake!  “…the soul’s slow agonizing descent into a state of such loneliness and despair as to be finally indistinguishable from Hell.” ~ Macbeth

Virginia

Ah yes indeed.  Who needs the classics when you can just turn on Channel 26 in the Time Warner cable line-up?

And then there’s this:  Isaac Haas, 7′ freak-of-nature who is the BMOC of Purdue’s team, has a sister with severe epilepsy.  He has been a loving and devoted brother, very personally affected by her increasingly devastating illness.  As his star has risen, he has not forgotten her:  he started a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough money to get her a seizure dog.  Oh my God.  Watching this story I cried like a baby…you would’ve thought it was a showing of The Notebook.  I was so proud of Isaac!  Gives one hope for the future of humanity!  I love college basketball!!

As for my bracket…well.  You see, I chose the NOBLE SPARTANS as this year’s champions…excellent record, superior athletes, good ranking.  Of course you know they lost in the 2nd round.  Everybody knows that.  And so, my bracket is now up in flames.

Thanks Spartans.

 

“Life … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” ~ William Shakespeare

I disagree, Will.  You just need to make your picks and fill out your bracket.  It’ll cheer you up a lot.  I promise.

 

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Aunt Dot

My great-Aunt Dot is legendary in my family.

Now, she has not jumped out of planes (that I know of), or hacked through the Amazon jungle (I don’t think so), or discovered the damn missing link.  Her contribution has been more subtle.
Now, let me explain about her: she is a cute, petite, 88-yr-old lady who lives in Atlanta.  She has never been married, and in fact, has lived in the same house in the Capital View neighborhood that her father (my great-grandfather) moved his family into in 1939.  The neighborhood has had its ups and downs.  At one point I think there was some funky stuff going on, and some folks enjoying some crack and the like, but Dot would NOT move. She waited it out, and sure enough, she was GENTRIFIED.

My Great Aunt Dot

My Great Aunt Dot

As a matter of fact, you can see her on the website for “The BeltLine”, a high-falutin’ urban park renewal project.

http://beltline.org/about/the-atlanta-beltline-project/neighborhoods/
Her stick-to-it-iveness is not why she is legendary, however. This is what she does:
On EVERY holiday, especially on every birthday, she sends a cute card with flowers or kittens or cherubs on it to EVERY family member and in it she encloses… $1. Now please understand, I have quite a large extended family now. She may have started with siblings and cousins, etc., but now…there are nieces, nephews, cousins, their spouses, their children, and at this point…their children’s children and children!  I mean, she is in for a lotta dough, not to mention cornering the market on Hallmark.

I took it for granted for a lot of my life, not GETTING it, ya know?  Not doing the math.  That is until my brother moved to Helsinki, Finland and then London, and he said she never missed a beat.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday… it dawned on me “This is a full-time job.”  And always the dollar bill.  (Sometimes upgraded to $5 on a milestone occasion.  But, I can only speak for myself… )

Throughout life, some years, SOME birthdays…well…let’s just say “It ain’t always so yippy-skippy.”  But Dot’s card always arrives, and I know I will get the $1.  I am so old now that if I had saved and invested them, I might be a wealthy woman today.

Even though I am old, I recently got married for the first time, and when my husband’s birthday came around, this is what he got:

dot card

Welcome to the Family