Never fill out a March Madness bracket

Flickr/Kate Tel Haar

By Colin Daileda

In the beginning there was a dream of a Michigan State – Oklahoma clash in the final game of this year’s men’s college basketball tournament.

It would rain on me cake and cash and the right to shit talk all my friends and family for the coming year.

I would win the family pool, and I would get a cake of the victor’s choice. So, probably chocolate-peanut butter.

I would win the work pool, and get all that sick $$$.

I would win my friends’ pool, and then I could text them basketball emojis and it would be funny for me because this is who I am.

Michigan State fell way behind right out of the gate — the tournament’s second day… — and a familiar feeling filled me. It was that feeling I always got walking into geometry class in 9th grade on the day of a test. I’d never studied like I should have, and though I knew something bad was about to happen, I’d console myself with fool’s gold phrases like, “don’t freak out, nothing has happened yet.”

Which, of course, doesn’t change the inevitable. And Michigan State’s eventual loss, halfway through the second half, felt inevitable. They scored and scored and scored, and it did not matter. Middle Tennessee State (yup) was not going to miss on that Friday, and they sunk enough baskets to sink what felt like half of America’s brackets, including mine.

I lost another Final Four pick that night, and soon my bracket looked like a trainwreck had married a dumpster fire and its child could do nothing but shit the bed. I watched as one of my two work brackets — the one I named “Dis one gonna win” — dropped to third from the bottom of 37 entrants, amassing about half as many points as the eventual winner. I watched as my mom climbed to an indomitable position atop the family pool. And I watched as the only friend I really care about not winning the other damn pool slowly amassed enough points that he would nearly have beaten any two of the other entrants combined.

Perhaps you don’t understand what this has done to my once insurmountable spirit.

I have had to endure texts such as “I’m a goddamn fucking genius and it’s time for you to accept this.”

Also, “I seriously do feel like I’ve won 5 of the last 8 times we’ve done this.”

Also, “Well I’m tired of dominating our brackets. I’m gonna give someone else a chance next year.”

Also my mom reiterating that I have never won the family pool.

My mom is something of a trash talk wizard.

Should be great fun.

Colin Daileda is a co-founder of Or Something and a staff reporter at Mashable. You can follow him in the Twitterverse: @ColinDaileda

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