It is definitely March when you start to see multiple images of the symbol featured above. The Bracket, a primary component in what is the most-gambled upon sporting event, the Men’s College Basketball Championship aka March Madness. Even if you aren’t inclined to bet any hard-earned money on the games, there are a lot of folks who consider co-workers, friends, and family bragging rights just as valuable as any potential financial gain. Once the teams have been selected and their names populated within The Bracket, millions more Brackets spring forth with predictions of the outcomes, submitted for contests large and small all across the country.
Mrs. Chess does not care for basketball. Ok, she hates it…
However, she has been annually entertained by The Bracket competition, no doubt because she loves any opportunity to take me down a notch or two…or three. She only starts paying attention to college basketball during games I watch each February, and while supposedly occupied with other activities, still makes mental notes of what broadcasters are saying about the best teams. (She doesn’t think I know she’s multi-tasking but I do…)
Once the games begin and chaos ensues as favored teams inevitably begin to fall, the community of participants who have filled Brackets out share in each other’s ecstasy and/or misery. Those folks who pick teams to win solely based on what their favorite color is, or which teams they think have the more-fiercest mascots, often have as much a chance of winning as those who watch the sport all season long. It never ceases to amaze and amuse me when someone who has zero interest in college basketball picks up a Bracket and proceeds to do better than I…Mrs. Chess included.
Over thirty plus years I took vacation days from work on the first two full days of March Madness, when thirty-two, one-and-done games are played and spectacular, fantastic finishes can occur at any moment. Sports fans are used to many championships being decided in multiple-game series. Here, just one poor performance sends you home for the season. And…let us not forget the ladies of March. Women’s March Madness has its own Bracket competitions, and their sport continues to increase in both popularity and viewership. I try to see as many of their Championship games as well.
For those who know nothing about college basketball headed into this year’s Madness, perhaps adopt Texas A & M as a team to root for on the Men’s side? Head Coach Buzz Williams has been a Chessboard favorite for a long time. He’s a unique dude by all accounts, and one of his core beliefs is “WCET”…Write, Call, Email, Text. He reaches out and contacts 180 people every month. His quote from Sportscasting.com:
“So, I write 120 people. Sixty are to develop a relationship with, thirty are the people that in essence I work for, and thirty are connected to the game of basketball regardless of where I’m employed. That’s 120, and then I write two thank you notes every single day so that’s sixty. So, it’s 180 notes that I write every month.”
Buzz’s “monthly additions” often come about when he discovers students who have won awards or grants, or he learns of folks who have done heroic deeds within their communities. It matters not if they are strangers. He believes everyone deserves support and appreciation. Williams also has his players write a note to someone before each game. Team members are held to only one rule…they cannot write a note to someone they’ve previously written to. He believes encouraging his players to personally reach out to others and show appreciation – especially to strangers – is a valuable life lesson. I agree.
Every March, I can be found outside playing basketball on nearby concrete courts when the games aren’t on, shooting baskets with my indoor nerf basketball and hoop set while the games are on, and keeping my iPhone close by as it works in parallel with the television towards providing access to as many games as possible.
As for the afore-mentioned iPhone, this March finds Mrs. Chess and I treating ourselves to new ones after getting five years out of our prior devices.
Computer, phone…and even web site designers (I see you WordPress!) always love to “refresh” and “improve” things supposedly for our benefit, which often finds me disapproving their changes. This is not because I am against change, but when you use technology over and over you develop a muscle memory as to how to create, save, and access things effortlessly. Inevitably, new generations of technology often dictate at the very least a partial reset of physical behaviors and having to re-learn how to be most-efficient.
Two nights ago as I was ruminating and mumbling about aspects of my new iPhone I was finding different…and quite not to my liking…I apparently exceeded the amount of patience Mrs. Chess was willing to provide regarding my “research.” Her monotone comment…”Don’t worry, you’ll be dead soon.”
I earned that response. Earlier in the day, I stumbled across and subsequently showed her something I had found online. It was in regard to chart representations of how many weeks you likely have left to live. Apparently this became a thing several years back (template example above), and now there are sites you plug your birthdate into and they inform you as to how many weeks of your Earthly existence may remain.
Of course, we rarely know definitively when our final departure is booked, but contemplating the number of potential weeks I have left to live in this manner was…interesting?
(Hmm…not THAT many weeks left…)
I have chosen to look at this from a positive standpoint. I will simply re-double my efforts to make sure every week going forward is as fulfilling and joyful as possible…as I head down the home stretch. The sands of time aren’t running out. The sands are just a bit more cherished now.
I’m determined to not just phone it in for any remaining time…even if I now have to take time to re-learn my phone.
Pictures Courtesy iStock/United Feature Syndicate/KindPNG/WaitButWhy