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Almost every single year of my adult life I have performed my patriotic duty of filling out a March Madness bracket. I don’t do it because I give a shit about college basketball. I went to a football school and basketball isn’t a big deal to me. I do it because I’m American, but every year I care less and less about filling out a bracket. Last year I only did it because Warren Buffett offered a fortune to whomever filled out a perfect bracket. This year I did not even bother, and I couldn’t be happier.
March Madness has grown into this ridiculously big thing where institutions like Goldman Sachs have their number crunchers calculating odds and the media makes a big deal over Barack Obama’s bracket. Every website has a March Madness contest and every office has a March Madness pool. That’s all good and fine, and I’m sure big basketball fans love it, but to those of us who couldn’t give less of a damn it’s little more than a raffle, and maybe, MAYBE a reason to actually watch a game. I find college basketball to be a free throw contest with a tiny bit of basketball in-between, but that’s one man’s opinion.
I understand that the reason the brackets are fun is the same reason fantasy sports and sports betting are fun—you have something on the line when teams you don’t care about are playing. However, your entire bracket can get busted in the first two rounds. That just kills the fun for the rest of the tournament. So how do people curb the risk of a busted bracket? That’s right, multiple brackets. So now not only do I have to fill out a bracket, but multiple brackets for a sport I do not care about. As an irrationally competitive person who is banned from the Windward Lake tennis club for unsportsmanlike conduct, I’m not going to half ass a bracket if I do one. But bracket busting brings me to the question—how do you get through March Madness and enjoy it?
The answer is sports betting. Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to break the law, but there are places that allow sports betting. Betting on the tournament is better than bracketology because every game can be a new game and you can enjoy basketball deep into the tournament even if you don’t care about the sport. I can weather a free throw contest when there is money on the line, and as long as I’m not gambling away unsustainable amounts of money, no harm no foul, right?
All that said, I’m glad I haven’t filled out a bracket. Hell, I haven’t even watched a game. I couldn’t even tell you if Duke is still in the tournament. I’m not checking my bracket every day hoping I haven’t busted the damn thing. But maybe when I finish my work for the week, I can put down some money on one of the games deeper in the tournament and if I win, let it ride. That’s way more fun and absolute than “your bracket is 69% correct.” And in the meantime I can prepare for the college spring football games and fantasy baseball..
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