UPSET

There was a big upset in the NCAA Tournament this year.

There was almost a bigger one.

To be honest, I really don’t know that much about basketball. I know that when the ball goes in the basket, you get two points. But I recently learned that even that’s not totally correct. Sometimes, you get three points. I also know it helps to be tall. That’s about it.

But I entered my friend Eric’s $5 NCAA pool because he entered my Survivor pool, and he knows as much about Survivor as I know about sports. It only seemed fair.

Not knowing which teams were favored, I made my picks pretty much at random. By the time the final four rolled around, I was in 11th place out of 21, a pretty respectable showing, I thought. But Eric, who clearly enjoys organizing his basketball pool, analyzed the standings and determined who was still in the running to take home the dough. Eric himself was out of it, as were all but five or six people. The amazing thing was that I was one of those five or six.

Due to the complicated math of Eric’s pool (more points are up for grabs in the later rounds of the tournament), whoever correctly picks the ultimate champion is bound for a big score. Well, I had Kansas to go all the way, and Kansas made the final two. If they won the championship, I’d win the pool.

The money came to $70, which was nice, but it wasn’t the big prize. For me, that was the satisfaction of beating the jocks, of triumphing over the sport wonks who spent countless hours of their lives analyzing stats and looking down on geeks like me who couldn’t name a single player besides Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neal (basically, anyone who’s crossed over to star in a lame kids’ movie).

This would be my chance to beat the jocks, to live out my own triumphant Revenge of the Nerds underdog story. And it was the perfect setup. Even going into the final round, I hardly seemed like a threat to the guys at the top. (Besides Eric, who even LOOKS at who’s in 11th place?) All the world would be rooting for me. When I robbed the cool kids of their glory, they wouldn’t even see it coming. It would be my finest hour.

But you know the ending by now. You saw what happened on Monday night.

I lost.

So did Kansas.

Like I care.

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