Tuesday, March, 1, 2011
By Joe Collins
I am beyond all help when it comes to playing Words With Friends on my iPhone. I am a junkie. The game is taking over every second of my free time. Sometimes Ill have 10 games going on at once. Its sad. If you are unfamiliar with Words With Friends, it is a Scrabble-like game where you get seven lettered tiles (as does your opponent) and you make words based on the letters given and build off each other. Its incredibly addictive.
However, as with most things in life, there are certain 'W-W-F' annoyances you have to deal with. For example, you need the CIA to track certain opponents. Theyll make a move and then fall off the face of the earth for five days. Id start checking dumpsters looking for these people, but Im not sure I care that much. Another annoyance: you might end up getting paired with an intellectual snob who plays words like coz, qi, ag and aa. Yes, according to Words With Friends, aa is a word. I think theres a joke there but Im not going to touch it. Anyway, you take the good with the bad. 98 of the action is fun but you have to put up with the occasional tool every now and then.
March Madness is kind of the same way.
In a few weeks, your family, office or social network of choice will be distributing NCAA tournament brackets. For the sports fan, it might as well be your birthday, New Years Eve, and any Friday afternoon all wrapped into one shining moment. We love the promise and the potential of a clean bracket sheet. We think that we can predict who the next George Mason or Butler will be. Heck, I even likened my wedding invitation list to the NCAA selection committee. Even the passive fans get caught up in the excitement. The office water cooler talk actually shifts momentarily from the weather to the crazy upset that happened the night before. Its an exciting time. And your bracket is never in shambles until the team you picked to win it all goes down in defeat. Theres always hope.
But even Bracket Nation has its share of troublemakers. March Madness is, and will always be, one of the greatest events in sports. But there are five types of people in our NCAA pool that we would rather have eliminated:
The Guy With 20 Brackets
Ugh. It's overkill. This guy is so wrong on so many levels (both literally and figuratively...and we hope he's 0-for-20 when the tournament's over). The 20 bracket guy will never feel bad about losing his final four on his family pool, you know--the one through his dads cousins sons office, because he has 19 others to fall back on. And hell make light of the fact that, although he is getting torched in eight other brackets, he is still in 1,381st place on some national pool with a 100,000 grand prize payout. This guy ends every game with, Dude I called that one! Its not all doom and gloom though, because we all know that the 20 Bracket Guy never wins. And he has to put a third mortgage on the house or sell a kidney or two come April to break even.
The Bracket Novice
This sports gumshoe has Texas Southern, Cincinnati, Vermont and Long Beach State in the Final Four. They also have some interesting upsets, like Kansas losing to McNeese Statein the regional semifinal. Also noted, is their distaste for Duke head coach Mike Krizzy-zew-ski and the fact that their school, Northeastern Maryland State-Havre De Grace Campus, didnt make it into the field. These people are usually harmless until they successfully pick a six seed to win it all. Then the expletives get as loud and distasteful as a Bruce Pearl garage sale.
The Guy Who Picks With His HeartAnd Not His Brain
These people are the best to make fun of come tourney time. And the more hardcore the fan, the better chance for side-splitting comedy. I had a friend of a friend pick Notre Dame to go to the final four last year. I thought it was an interesting pick. Not that it was an insane pick, it was justinteresting. This guy gave me a Zapruder film-esque breakdown of why 6-seed Notre Dame could make it there. I bought it until, out of curiosity, I asked him where he went to school. Notre Dame he says. Then the first round happened: Old Dominion 51, Notre Dame 50. Cue the torches.
Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert
This is also the surly goof that will pitch a fit at the blackjack table if you dont split eights against a king. Yeah, sometimes it workssometimes it doesnt. Johnny 12-5 Upset Expert megaphones to you (and everyone within earshot) about the need to pick the 12 against a 5. What Johnny fails to realize is, while there have been a good number of 12 seeds that have broken through in the first round (roughly 1 in 3 to be exact), the majority go win the first game and potentially have stellar tournaments. Johnny always has a system for picking upsets. Dont even get him started on the 11-6 or the 10-7 scenarios.
The Office Pool Winner
Because your 20 is now in their wallet. Just like last year.
And the year before that.
Or something like that.