Louisville Magazine

MAR 2012

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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[ Editor's Letter ] The Elite Eight A round these parts, I figure if you're not filling out an NCAA tournament bracket before tipoff of the first-round games this month at the Yum! Center (March 15 & 17), well, you missed your turn at Mars. In another life, I was the all-important Office Pool B Y KANE WEBB Guy, the indispensable co-worker who collected up- wards of a hundred brackets per tourney, at five bucks a throw, scoring them with the care of an accountant at tax time. Yes, it was a heady responsibility. But run- ning the office pool had its benefits. It allowed me to study the sociological curiosity that is homo predictus up close in what amounted to an anthropological expedi- tion each spring. Over the years I developed a few theories as to why ev- eryone and his brother, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, cat and neighbor's in-law's second-cousin-twice-removed can't resist filling out a bracket. Americans like to gamble, es- pecially if it's vaguely verboten. Te blind-eye illicitness of bracketology adds to the bonding experience. Te of- fice pool is the modern-day version of bathtub gin. I've also deduced several distinct pool-playing "types." I've categorized them for print before, long ago in a land far away (Arkansas), where basketball wasn't king (or even queen) but office pools still ruled come March. I'm betting those in the pool aren't so different in the Commonwealth. (1) Te Expert. He fills out multiple sheets, usually no fewer than four and sometimes as many as 10, always listed numerically — John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and so on. He studies schedules and rosters, memorizes players' statistics, situational tendencies, class schedules and fa- vorite orders at Chick-fil-A. He knows what RPI means — and actually cares. And, yes, he is always a he. In bracketology, he's called predictable. In life, he's called single. Odds of winning: Good if the tournament is as dull as he is. (2) Te Homer. More loyal to his team than many of the players and coaches. Always picks quote-unquote Hiz Boy-eez to win it all, regardless of pretty much any- thing. He'd have them scissoring the nets in New Or- leans if they were down to four sub-six-inch guards and a three-legged dog. On his bracket, if they're in, they win. Which means he rarely does. Because an odd trait of Te Homer is that his team is hardly ever a North Carolina or Kansas but a sure-to-disappoint Missouri or Villanova. Odds: Once in a lifetime — which he'll never let anybody forget. (3) Te Shy Regular. A quiet type. Never causes any trouble. Keeps to herself. Often seen reading Penguin Classics at Starbucks. But the ink's still wet on that tour- ney bracket when she's turning in her picks, neatly filled out and with the final, tie-breaking championship score written boldly in black pen. Te most confident sheet of the pool. She'll correctly pick at least one interesting upset per round. And, no, she's not always a she — but she usually is. Odds: Vows to spend her winnings on herself for once — and never breaks a vow. (4) Te Chicken-Scratch Kid. Remember the kid in school whose homework was a wadded mess that looked as if the dog really did eat it — then spit it out? He's now the bracketeer whose sheet is so messy and illegible that you can't tell if he picked Michigan or Marquette in that second-round game. Certain to argue every se- lection after the fact. Regularly claims the biggest upset of the first day. Always forgets to include a tie-breaking final score beneath his proposed championship match- up. Conveniently "forgets" entry fee until after the first- round games. Odds: Not bad. Te Kid will talk his way into at least one upset he probably didn't pick. (5) Te What-T'-Hecker. Tis bracketeer cuts across all demographics: male, female, uptight, laid back, non-sports fan, degenerate gambler. Doesn't mat- ter. Te What-T'-Hecker plays for the same reason he might choose to whistle while he works: whim. Tis type may pick some of the most fabulous upsets in the tournament, especially in the first round. His downfall: Picking a Niagara not just to beat Duke but to win it all. Odds: Can Virginia Commonwealth make another Final Four? (6) Te Seed Sower. Like the casual bettor at the track who always picks the horse with the lowest odds, S.S. always picks the team with the higher seed. Result: No stress in filling out his solitary bracket. Te Sower is playing for second- or third-place money, not the big payday and certainly not the thrill of victory. Odds: Solid bet for just missing show money. (7) Te Straggler. As with every other part of his life, he is late. He has to deliver that rent check before it's past due (again); then he'll get his brackets in, promise. He'll pay the entry fee tomorrow. He means every word. He really needs to get it together. He has much bigger worries than this silly pool. Odds: About the same as that rent check not bouncing. (8) Te I'm-Doing-It-For-A-Friend-(wink, wink)- Multi-Sheeter. Prone to aliases (Charlie Pickenstein, Breck Etology). Known for selecting the out-of-nowhere dark horse. He picked Butler before it was cool. Done in by longshot that can't quite seal the deal. Like, say, But- ler. Can take pride in all his sheets doing well. Uh, that is, all his friends' sheets. Brackets mysteriously appear in the pool seconds before deadline, in a thick envelope, along with a wad of cash — all singles, of course. Odds: Best bet in the tourney. Q [8] LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.12

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