5 min read

things i think about while powerwashing 69

things i think about while powerwashing 69
Purdue center Zach Edey (15) celebrates on the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Samford in West Lafayette, Ind., Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Hi all!

The National Collegiate Athletics Association Men's Basketball National Championship (also known as the NCAA MBB NC, or also March Madness), wasn't always in the forefront of my mind. Most of my brief interfactions with it growing up happened in elementary school, when my classmate and extremely passionate Kansas Jayhawks fan Rami always filled out a bracket with the Jayhawks on top.

"They're the best team," he would say. "Why would you choose otherwise?"

But that doesn't really capture the magic, does it? Just seeing brackets get passed around in high school doesn't really capture the magic of watching Michigan's Jordan Poole sink a buzzer beater. Seeing him run around, getting chased and tackled to the ground by his team. Hearing about how 95% of all brackets were busted. Watching Noah and his family's varied reactions based on the outcome they had chosen.

That's the magic of March.

Let's roll back a little. March Madness, also known as the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament, is probably the most impactful collegiate sporting event of the year. Each year, millions of Americans fill out brackets and try to predict the outcome of the tournament and enter them into pools. The biggest pools are hosted by sites like ESPN and CBS and have payouts in the hundreds of thousands.

Some are just among friends, and the goal is to basically not be the loser and avoid a punishment.

But the tournament happens every March, right? Hence the March in the name. But what's the madness? Well, that's the fun part. To kind of hand wave this part of the explanation, each of the 64 teams entered into the tournament gets a ranking from 1 to 16 (each ranking having four teams), and then divvied up into four tournament sections. And how it works is that based on the rank assigned to each team, you can generally tell which team will win before hand.

Until you can't. Until a 1-ranked team gets toppled by a 16-ranked team. And that, my friends, is what we in the business call an upset.

Most years are filled with smaller upsets. You see 4 seeds getting beat out by 5 seeds, or like in 2019 when 3-seed Purdue beat out 2-seed Tennessee. Some years (NO MORE DETAILS BEYOND THIS POINT) 16-seeds really do beat 1-seeds. No further comment.

And that's the beauty of it all. Small schools like University of Maryland, Baltimore County with their spunky little dog mascot rise to fame, albeit for a week or two. In the national eye, Loyola University of Chicago and their trusty nun Sister Jean are probably more well-known than Loyola Marymount University in LA. It's how people hear about schools like Stephen F. Austin. It's seeing the desperation in some of these people's lives, seeing people who will be resigning their fate to a life of accountancy or finance work the moment the buzzer hits zero. The dream of being a basketball player, could instantly finish at any time.

But not if they can help. Time and time again upsets coming from teams comprised not of future NBA lottery picks but of future dentists, accountants and sales representatives spoil a young team filled with talent from Auburn or Virginia. And that's the best part of March. Seeing athletes leave it all on the floor one final time.

So maybe if it seems I'm a little too obsessed with college basketball this time of year, you know why now. It's the drama. The passion. The stories. And the warm glow of watching young stars burn bright on the stage one last time before heading on to their next adventure.

anonymous subscriber news

One of the comments addresses this but YES I FORGOT TO POST ANYTHING LAST WEEK. I was super tired when Friday came around so I simply forgot to cut and paste it in. Let me have it. I deserve all these roasts. But also let me have all of your anonymous subscriber news! https://forms.gle/2MABf8jNr2V8kEY87

  • anonymous subscriber feeling insecure
  • anonymous subscriber [wants to] be happy
  • anonymous subscriber attempted a we bare bears 1000 piece puzzle from miniso and did not finish after 10 hours over two days
  • anonymous subscriber might be changing jobs but is sad and happy both
  • anonymous subscriber went to a fall out boy concert and it was GREAT
  • anonymous subscriber submitted something last week but you didn’t include it. FRAUD
  • anonymous subscriber is nurturing an office crush
  • anonymous subcriber hurt their knee after they slipped leaving a hot tub
  • nonymous subscriber is going fishingggggg
  • nonymous subscriber went out on a Wednesday and thinks that nightlife starts too late. Do we really have to get the disco bumping at 10:30 when the sun went down 3 hours ago?
  • anonymous subscriber hopes to go to Europe this summer
  • anonymous subscriber's friend’s puppy fell off their lap RIP pup
  • anonymous subscriber got tickets to an early indie film screening and it’s right next to a new ice cream place

top 3 tunez: brad pushkar

Esteemed subscriber Brad Pushkar makes his newsletter debut by showing us a range of music from classics to ... JPEGMAFIA. Brad, who is a shining example of an esteemed subscriber, submitted their top songs using the link below. You too can be a shining example of an esteemed subscriber, and if you've submitted songs already feel free to add more!

Submit your top 3 tunez here! https://forms.gle/o4UChktzPh3T7Z1u8

  • "Daydreaming" by Radiohead from A Moon Shaped Pool. I hadn't listened to this album much before the last month and I fell in love with it being probably the softest and deepest RH album. The simple piano melody moves beautifully through this song and the little notes from chimes really adds to Thom's vocals in what feels like his most vulnerable moments.
  • "Kingdom Hearts Key" by JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown from SCARING THE HOES. This is my favorite rap album of 2023, and this song really shows the talent that Peggy has in utilizing almost any sample to create a banger track.
  • "Will Anybody Ever Love Me?" by Sufjan Stevens from Javelin. I hadn't listened to Sufjan before Javelin released but this album was a perfect introduction. This song being the lead single caught my attention with its mixing. You can feel the pain he's feeling throughout as the song continues to build until it swells with each chorus after the first.

animal of the week

This is a piglet brought to school for farm animal day during vacation camp. - esteemed subscriber Alexandra Weliever

I honestly don't think about pigs — or piglets for that matter — very often. But the most striking thing about this piglet is that it just reminds me of Charlotte's Web. Or whatever Wilbur was in. Also remember that weird period of time in the mid 2000's when there was a spattering of movies centered around piglets? I remember. Anyway, remember to send me your animal photos at [email protected]. Looking forward to them all!