I am not doing an NCAA tournament bracket this year.
This might be the first time in 20 years that I haven't filled out a bracket - I've been filling them out since I was in the middle grades. Most of the time, my pick was Michigan, which meant they always disappointed me even more than usual.
But this year, after an entire season of not following college basketball, I decided that it wasn't worth it to make a bracket this year. I have a few reasons why.
I have no vested interest in any of the teams.
Michigan didn't make the cut. I can't name any players on any other team. All I know is that Kentucky is undefeated and Wisconsin is the Big Ten's hope of taking the championship.
Too much knowledge has failed me in the past, but this year a lack of knowledge is just making me care less.
It will allow me to enjoy the games more.
When it came to a close game in the opening rounds, I was usually on pins and needles, wondering if the team I picked would win. Now I will get to just sit back and enjoy the game for what it is, instead of worrying about how it's going to affect my bracket.
I get to live vicariously through other's pain and joy.
My students are each filling out a bracket and I'm monitoring their progress. Since these kids are 8-11 years old, they have even less knowledge of the season than I do! But that will make their brackets hilarious to follow. I've already entered some of their brackets in on a pool website, and some of them have picked 16-over-1 and have 12-seeds going to the Final Four. I chuckle at them now, but one of them will turn out to be right and I will feel like an idiot. But I will high-five them and cheer at their unexpected triumph.
I always get in a bad mood looking at my bracket.
You'd think in 20 years I would have picked the champion once. But no matter how many times I picked Kansas (way too many) or that one time I picked Memphis when John Calipari was still there, they always lost and left my bracket with a lot of lines instead of circles. If I don't fill out a bracket, then I have nothing to be grumpy about! No matter what happens that first weekend, I'll stay cheerful.
So maybe next year I will fill out a bracket again and join the millions of fans that do. But this year I will sit back, relax, eat pizza, and just enjoy the games 100%. I don't need a piece of paper dictating my feelings and reactions. I'll just laugh at everyone else's pieces of paper and reactions! (Mwa ha ha.)