Cap Backwards: the Madness has begun

Full disclosure, I have not been watching the Rockets too closely with conference tournaments in the NCAA last week followed by the advent of the greatest few weeks in sports that started yesterday.

This is my favorite time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the (NBA Playoffs and NFL and NCAA football). I mean they rev my engines, but they don’t belong in the newsroom!

March is awesome. Let me tell you why:

-Golf season, which admittedly is year round in Houston, pretty much officially begins for me the first Monday after the Sunday of Daylight Savings. Arbitrary as it may seem, it is the day I can put in a full day at the office and still play 18 holes before sundown, if everything goes smoothly (no traffic getting to the course, good pace on the course, no searching for lost balls, no searching for thrown clubs, etc.).

-St. Patrick’s Day Weekend in Dallas is the best weekend Dallas has to offer. You’re probably thinking that the Red River Shootout deserves some consideration if not an outright declaration of its supremacy. Go ahead and continue thinking that; enjoy your crowds of out of towners and relish in your inability to get into bars or get anywhere in the city in a reasonable amount of time. I’ll stick to the weekend that Greenville becomes Bourbon St. and every house around the M Streets is having a party that spills into the parties right next to it.

-St. Calzone’s Day (my Italian friends in college made up a retaliatory holiday to St Patty’s to celebrate their heritage – not knowing that niche had been filled by March 19′s St. Joseph’s Day) is on its 8th annual celebration and acts as an informal college reunion because after college you don’t have enough day parties in your life.

-Men’s college basketball conference tournaments. Outside of those risque lingerie shops, you cannot find a better warm-up and lead-in to something so great as March Madness. Teams with no chances are given hope and every underdog is fighting for its post season life.

-Which leads us to March Madness itself. You don’t even have to have your own team in the fray to get wrapped up in the excitement of the first weekend of Madness. Buzzer beaters, upsets, heroes – nothing matches the first round (not acknowledging the play in games as the first round).

This year’s Tournament is a new experience for some personal and public reasons. For all of us, four stations, rather than just CBS, broadcasting the games takes some adjusting. I personally loved having Greg Gumble and Jim Nance sherpanavigate  me through simultaneous games. Yes, we could miss some moments, but the work was done for us. On the other hand, with the staggered games, every ending is theoretically in play to be seen live. And with the internet, channels and times and scores are easy to find and monitor.

Now, my own experience this year has,regretfully, lost some integrity. Undermined by a good deal, I put aside my rule of “one tournament : one bracket : same bracket for every pool” and bought the right to play 3 brackets for the price of $10 rather than $5 for 1. Does this make me less of a man? Absolutely, and I want to apologize to myself for giving up the “moral” high ground that is granted by one bracket status.

This year, I will have no one to scoff at but myself as I flip through my brackets checking and crossing and highlighting much longer than necessary. With hedges in play, most games’ outcomes are mitigated by the choices (betrayals) on another of my brackets.

Eventually, I will succumb to the inevitable confusion that flows from having picked both teams to win a game. Cheering against one and for another is an unbridgeable abyss of self-division, and a Connor divided against himself cannot stand!

I may not be able to regain the moral ground I surrendered in filling out 3 brackets, but I can regain my sanity. I am tearing up all but my first bracket, an act lessened in significance by their electronic form being stored on a website, and lessened further because I will happily reap any rewards they bring.

Written by Connor Winn, ‘Cap Backwards’ is a discussion column on the NBA’s salary cap and its many intricacies.

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