Itâ€™s been an eventful month. Spring break, as previously discussed, was crazy, but something new and dangerous lurked onto my horizon and caused me enough stress to last me a lifetime. March Madness.
I am not a basketball player, nor will I ever be, due to my serious lack of athleticism despite being tall, but I have followed the sport for a good few years now. My knowledge is not extensive, but I know what a lay-up is, I know who Kobe Bryant is, I watched â€œSpace Jamâ€ when I was little and I know that if you make a really good shot from a long way back you hold up three fingers in some sort of celebratory way because youâ€™re a bad ass. Iâ€™m practically an expert.
But despite my wealth of knowledge, Iâ€™ve always been a little bit clueless about NCAA college basketball. As Iâ€™ve touched on in previous columns, college sports just arenâ€™t a big thing in the U.K. So seeing basketball televised nationwide on channels such as TBS and CBS is absolutely amazing for me. These guys are my age and being shown playing competitive sport to an audience of millions. Itâ€™s crazy.
So when I heard about March Madness, I decided I would invest in it whole-heartedly. I was preparing myself for a month of cheering on the underdog until I was introduced to something that changed everything: The March Madness $1 billion Perfect Bracket Contest. All I heard was pick some teams, win a billion dollars. I was, naturally very excited. Think of what you could do with $1 billion!!! Buy more than 222 million Cookie Dough Sonic Blasts? Check! Pay for at least one semester here at Trinity? Check! Build a massive sign next to the Soccer Field which reads â€œSouthwestern Sucksâ€? Check! The possibilities would be endless.
60-something games, pick the winners? Easy! Nobody told me until well after Iâ€™d picked my teams that a perfect bracket has NEVER been picked before. Never. Like, ever. â€œSurely it canâ€™t be that hard?â€ I thought to myself. My bracket was designed with common sense in mind: Only pick teams with cool names, bright colors or interesting mascots. Theyâ€™re bound to be good if they play in orange jerseysâ€¦ Syracuse for National Champions then. Duke?! Thatâ€™s a rubbish name. Youâ€™re out. St. Joeâ€™s!? The mascot is a massive bird?! Elite Eight for you St. Joeâ€™s; you go St. Joeâ€™s. My bracket was untouchable, fantastic and immaculate in every possible way. This was the best thing ever.
Until the end of the first game. Losing MY $1 billion thanks to Dayton University, who Iâ€™ve never even heard of, was not part of the plan! Ohio State, youâ€™re tacky and I hate you. But I resolved myself to win our Soccer Team bracket contest and show the Americans how itâ€™s done. With just the final four left to play Iâ€™m currently in 8th place out of 10 teams with no possible points left. Shit. It has, however, been thoroughly enjoyable to see my friends suffer the same agony as one by one their brackets fell apart. Zac Treuâ€™s reaction to Dukeâ€™s defeat to Mercer in the first round is possibly one of the funniest and impressive things Iâ€™ve ever seen, as he managed to form meaningful sentences using only expletives for a full ten minutes following the buzzer.
Despite my personal feelings towards some of the teams (Cincy & both Oklahoma teams, Iâ€™m looking at you, you bunch of amateurs), I do think itâ€™s absolutely brilliant that these young men (and women, in the womenâ€™s tournament) get such an amazing chance to play out their dreams in front of literally millions of people. What an advert for college sports this month is. The professionalism with which it was covered online and on television shows just how seriously itâ€™s taken. Truly a great credit to this country.
So my closing score will be 37 correct results out of a possible 63. Iâ€™m proud of my over 50 percent success rate considering the criteria by which I picked my teamsâ€¦ but secretly Iâ€™m still heartbroken that $1 billion wasnâ€™t mine. Iâ€™ll win it next year. Maybe.
Callum Squires is a first year german major.