Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Madness and My Wife

Well, it was only a matter of time. It never ceases to amaze me that my wife, Carla, will do better than I do each year in the annual March Madness bracket contest. We've been married for almost 14 years now and dated for nearly four years before that, so this is the 18th year for the annual bracket contest between us of which she has won 10 of the last 17.

First let me backtrack and give you a little background. Carla is the middle of five girls who grew up in Cincinnati. Carla may be a bigger baseball fan than I am (which is saying something) and I know that she's been to more games (especially Reds' ones) than I have. She grew up playing soccer and running track including holding a school record in high school in the 800. She pretty much loves every sport, but more than that she understands them better than some guys do. You couldn't ask for a more sports-minded wife.

We met while in college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and got married the summer after she graduated in 1996. We have two girls, Ashley (8) and Kylie (soon to be 5). She also works at MVNU in the Institutional Research and Compliance Office.

OK, now back to the contest. I went into this year's bracket thinking that I was going to be able to add to my brief two-year winning streak because Carla hasn't been able to watch all that much college basketball this year due to spending so much time with our girls when I have to work late evenings which happens a lot. I thought I made some good picks, so I was confident that the winning streak would continue.

Boy, could I have been more wrong. I had a horrible first day with all the upsets as I got just eight picks right. However, when I followed that up by going 14-for-16 the second day to trail her by just one, I thought that maybe there was a chance.

Then, along came yesterday and the start of the second round. Carla proceeded to go 6-for-8 missing just the upset of No. 1 Kansas (along with nearly three million other people) and No. 11 Washington's win over No. 3 New Mexico. Those picks not only vaulted her well ahead of me, but right to the top of our 50-person contest. I received numerous messages from friends asking if it was rigged and also just laughing at me for my ineptness and her success. It was brutal, but pretty funny at the same time.

When I asked Carla what her strategy was, she told me that she looked for teams that were playing their best basketball at the end of the year. For example, she picked No. 10 St. Mary's to be right where they are and even to move on to the Elite Eight. Obviously, it paid off for her. She also did not have Kansas winning the title like 23 of the 50 of us in our contest did, so she is still safe there as well. All I can say is that my wife is pretty smart when it comes to sports and I'll look forward to seeing if she can win this whole thing and beat not just me, but the rest of you as well. Her bracket is below:

Two other people deserve a shoutout for getting 5-of-8 right yesterday and that's Jason Bean and Eric Smith. Also, a shoutout to John White and Jennifer Hamerla for still having the most possible points remaining.

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