So who in their right mind would pick George Mason, an 11 seed who almost didn’t even get invited to the tourney, as a final four team? Tamara Brand, that’s who. So she deserves some blog love!
The night before the tournament started, I called the Brand’s house. I admit it: I used manipulation and guilt. I talked to Tamara’s husband Todd, and I told him that Elaine was doing a bracket, and Diane already did a bracket, so what was Tamara’s excuse? Did she want to be left out? Huh?
Unfortunately, she was already in bed. I didn’t think I ought to push my luck to the point of getting her out of bed, so I let it go. BUT, amazingly, courageously, when all was lost and everyone had given up, SHE ROSE FROM THE BED AND MADE HER PICKS!! I was moved. Stunned. Astonished. It was sheer guts, an unbelievable demonstration of the will to win and the triumph of the human spirit.
Yet I still chose to doubt. Particularly when I saw her actual picks, which made it clear to the whole world that she had no idea what those little seed numbers in front of all the names meant. Yes, I mocked her. I taunted her through the first round, as she languished in dead last. I showed sarcastic joy as she passed Breanna, a babe not yet two, in the second round. I sardonically celebrated as she passed 4 year old Isaac in the third round.
But today…today, it was not just the Connecticut Huskies who were vanquished. Oh no. It was me that felt the dagger through my heart, who felt the ridicule and sarcasm stick in my throat and choke me. Today, Tamara earned undying fame and glory as the only member of my 63 member pool to correctly pick George Mason University as the most celebrated and unexpected member of the final four. It was a great game, with drama, intrigue, overtime, clutch shots, missed free throws. I loved every minute I got to watch, and celebrated Tamara’s amazing selection, even though UConn’s loss killed my own bracket.
But Tamara didn’t see the game. Nope. Not a single pass or free throw.
She was taking a nap.