March Madness is the only time of year that my otherwise sensible husband goes crazy. Before we had children, and the concept of "leisure time" still figured in to our vocabulary, I knew not to expect too much togetherness in March. It was sacred time.
My man has college basketball running deep in his blood. The first time I ever saw him cry was when the Arkansas Razorbacks won the NCAA tournament in 1994, three months before our wedding. Tears of joy poured down his cheeks, and he planted a kiss on me that may still be the most enthusiastic one I've ever had. Certainly the most salty.
He has made me promise that I will play One Shining Moment at his funeral someday. I have reluctantly agreed, and I'm just praying I pre-decease him. (Which, come to think of it, might not be such a good idea, or One Shining Moment might get played at my funeral. Oh, heavens.)
As the years have gone by, his passion hasn't waned, but his leisure time has. The demands of life keep him from watching as much college basketball as he'd like throughout the year, and he's been a real sport about it. That man makes sacrifices more cheerfully than anyone I've ever known.
But when the second half of March rolls around, I can see the hairs on the back of his neck standing permanently at attention. Now he has three boys who happily pile on the couch with him (though I suspect they're in it more for the steady flow of cheese dip). He can fill out a bracket that will usually slay anyone else's. In fact, I have learned that the easiest way to drive him STARK RAVIN' NUTS is to explain him to the reasoning behind my own convoluted bracket. My logic for this year's bracket goes something like this:
1. Always pick SEC teams.
2. ORU and Oklahoma make it to the Sweet 16, because, well, they live in Oklahoma, and so do I.
3. I have lots of friends from Kansas State and Texas A&M, so I have to vote for them.
4. Gonzaga will advance far, because Gonzo has always been my favorite Muppet.
5. So will Temple, because, well, Jesus worshipped in the temple, right?
[This is where his eyes start to roll back in his head.]
6. I plan to vote for John McCain in November, so I have to pick Arizona to go far.
7. Memphis will make it to the Final Four, because they have such nice barbecue.
8. Duke will take the whole thing, because I feel sorry for Mike Krzyzewski that he has such a difficult last name.
Now you see why I never actually bet any money on this.
So if my blog posts seem disjointed the next couple of weeks, know that it's because I'm being interruped by shouts of joy and anguish coming from the man sitting on the couch next to me. Well, and all the cheese dip.