Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm throwing my bracket out with the chametz

Hello, dear friends. I know it's been a while, and I will be honest, a lot has happened since we last spoke, but I will try my best to cover all (read: some, not much) of it in this super special passover edition of the ridiculous things I'm going to ramble about. For those of you who live in boxes, or at least not New York City, you may not be aware that Passover, one of the holiest Jewish holidays, began last night, which meant a boozy, wine-filled and mildly vindictive seder, as well me being unable to have bread, cookies or beer (basically anything delicious) until sundown next Monday night.

So yeah, חג פסח שמח, everyone!

See this is a pretty big deal. So big, in fact, that in Israel, the land where you wouldn't be able to swing a dead cat without hitting a door with lambs blood over it this week, the entire country is prepared in basically every way it possibly could be. But hey, we're prepared over here, too! That's why Barack Obama, once again, held a seder at the White House, something I'd totally love to get invited to sometime, even if Obama recently proved during his trip to Israel that while he gives great speeches with keen geopolitical insight, he's definitely not a Jew.

Seriously. "That's good matzah?" There's no such thing as good matzah. Every Jew knows this.

But that's a whole different blog entry. Either way, Barack was prepared, I was prepared and apparently the Angel of Death was more prepared than my bracket, which neglected to put lambs blood over its door and was therefore brutally slaughtered this weekend in the West Regional. (See, we're getting to the whole sports thing).

See, this past weekend was the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, that annual rite of spring in which we all openly admit that we have no idea how college basketball works because it's nearly impossible to get a correct bracket and the likelihood of yours surviving the first four days is about as likely as a swimsuit model showing up at your doorstep, the Mets winning a World Series before I die or finding matzah that is actually enjoyable to eat.

I've had good years. I've had bad years. This is one that decidedly is in the second of those two columns.

After all, just take a gander at that West region in which I got a grand total of five games wrong in the first round. I've had years where I don't get five games wrong over the entire first two days. In addition, I correctly pegged one team that reached the Sweet Sixteen (and they almost didn't) and I have no Elite Eight picks left alive.

Oh, and did I mention that I picked the top seed in the region, Gonzaga, to reach the National Championship Game?

Suffice it to say, I'm not really expecting my bracket to pull through. But hey, that's just part of the fun of the whole dance, right? After all, with the full knowledge that I basically have a Pharoah's chance on Pesach of winning any of my pools, I can just sit back and enjoy the ride. That means watching this weekend's Wichita State-La Salle match with extreme gusto, crossing my fingers for 12th-seeded Oregon and, heavens to Betsy, cheering on those crazy 15th-seeded Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University, to date the only undefeated team in NCAA Tournament history, as they face the Florida Gators with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.

Because if FGCU can actually beat Georgetown in the round of 64 (and single-handedly knock me out of a survivor pool I thought I had a decent shot at winning), then anything is possible. Really!

So yeah, my bracket's pretty much shot, which has dominated most of my attention during the two weeks or so that I neglected to write here, update you all on why I'm cautiously optimistic about the Mets not being so awful (there will be time for that later this week) or my trip to L.A. two weeks ago which, really, did nothing to dissuade me of the idea that it's a total fantasy land. I suppose I could get into the exciting details of drinking with celebrities, bumping into strangers I met on my plane flight in Hollywood or nearly getting lost in South Central while mastering the L.A. mass transit system (also, I saw some sporting events), but that will have to be a story for another time.

For now, let's just look forward to the fact that I have no real horse to root for in the NCAA Tournament aside from "Not Duke" and "Not Michigan" and that I can actually enjoy it without anxiety. That's a little-known fact about being a sports fan -- it's usually much more enjoyable when you aren't emotionally invested. I learned this a few years ago when the Devils actually missed the playoffs for the first time since before I hit puberty. I'm instead going to be able to sit in front of the TV and watch those plucky underdogs from the gulf coast take their best shot at the big boys.

It's just like how a group of plucky Jews managed to topple big ol' Ramses II a few short millennia ago.

This time, though, we're bringing better food.


  1. Root for the Cuse...New York City's college team! That's right...a school 200 miles away is claiming to be NYC's team despite St. John's being right there.

  2. Doesn't Rutgers try to make that claim, too? Whither Columbia?

  3. "Not duke?" come on Dave, just because you're a Mets fan doesn't mean all of your sports choices have to lose.

  4. That's where the Giants, Devils, Blackhawks and Geelong Cats come in.