March Madness

As I’ve gotten older, my favorite sporting events have changed pretty drastically. I lived and breathed baseball growing up, and I still enjoy playing softball…but following baseball is not something I’ve really enjoyed as an adult.

I never could play basketball. Growing up, I don’t remember particularly caring about basketball at all. But that began to change in seminary. Jimmy had me to his apartment with a bunch of people to watch a Carolina-Duke game. I remember watching Duke upset UNLV at a break during a night class. I started to get hooked on the passion and excitement of college basketball, and in particular, the March Madness tournament, where there always seemed to be a David taking down a Goliath.

In 1997, I started hosting a pool for picking the winners of the tournament. Very quickly, Creighton became a favorite upset pick, I learned about “RPI”, and I spent each spring trying to convince people who didn’t care a bit that they ought to try it. I got my kids to do it, starting with Talli in 1998, and Janna Fawver joined that year, too. The kids have come a long way; in 2003, my then 7 month old daughter Aubrey chose a bracket by having her dad place two slips of paper in front of her for each game; whichever she grabbed first was her pick. And she BEAT me! Last year, Janna Fawver and Nancy Woodward were neck and neck until the final game, when Nancy was able to pull it out.

It’s that time of year again, and so I’m putting a public invitation on the blog to join the fun and try and become a part of the elite “Hall of Fame”:

Year: Pool Name: Hall of Famer: NCAA Champion: Honorable Mention:
2005 Gregg’s Group 9 Nancy Woodward North Carolina
2004 Gregg’s Group 8 Ron Woodward Connecticut
2003 Gregg’s Group 7 Diane Fawver Syracuse
2002 Boise Bowl 6 Lonny Bumgardner Maryland
2001 Boise Bowl 5 Gregg Koskela Duke
2000 Boise Bowl 4 Jim Steele Michigan State
1999 Koskela’s Madness 3 Gregg Koskela Connecticut
1998 Koskela’s Madness 2 Jim Steele Kentucky Diane Fawver
1997 Koskela’s Madness 1 Tim Hyatt Arizona Doug Koskela

(The honorable mention goes way back before ESPN hosted this thing. I had another scoring method that gave you bonus points for picking upsets, and Doug and Diane won under that scoring method.)

So, come on. Join the fun. Follow this link, set up an account, and after all the teams are chosen tomorrow, you just pick the winners one time and watch the fun for three weeks.

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