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    March Madness: How to Fill Out a Winning Bracket

    By John Chen

    Laying poolside—diligently turning golden brown in sunny 95-degree Palm Springs and surrounded by beautiful, playful, social naked men of all shapes and sizes—I was in paradise, although Hawaii was more paradisy (is this a word?) two weeks ago. But something’s amiss. Something continued to nag at me, filling the back of my brain with concern, anxiety and sleeplessness. Sensing my trepidation, the stunning specimen of masculinity tanning nude next to me asked if I was alright and if there was anything he could do to ease my obvious tension. I thanked him for his kindness and generosity, and graciously accepted his offer.

    Stunning Male Specimen (SMS): “I sense your trepidation. Is there anything I can do to ease your obvious tension?”

    Me: “I thank you for your kindness and generosity and, yes, there is something you can do to ease my obvious tension.”

    SMS: Turns to face me, grins, and gently puts his big strong hand on my now golden brown, but quivering, shoulder. “What would you like for me to do?”

    Me: Taking a deep breath, gathering any semblance of strength and uttering these words, “Who should I pick to advance? Eighth seeded Wisconsin or ninth seeded Virginia Tech?”

    SMS: “That’s a tough one … I can now see why you are full of trepidation. Historically, the 8 vs. 9 matchup is anyone’s guess, but I am personally leaning towards Virginia Tech because they are more athletic than the methodical Badgers.”

    For the next couple of days, I sought advice from various NCAA Tournament Bracket gurus in Palm Springs because I am tired of losing to six-year-old girls and finishing no higher than the 50th percentile among the millions and millions of March Madness contestants every year. After all, I am somewhat of a sports expert!

    In the pool: “The water feels really good, doesn’t it? Where are you from? I love New York! So, what teams do you think will be in the Final 4?”

    In the Jacuzzi: “The hot jets feel so nice on a cool desert evening. Yes, I agree. Feels even better naked. Yes, I concur. The situation is very much a turn on for me as well. So, as you may already know, at least one dreaded 5 seed historically gets upset in the first round by an underrated mid major 12th seed. Do you think #12 Middle Tennessee State that returns everyone from last year’s team, which upset #2 Michigan State, is a safe bet to upset #5 Minnesota this year, especially when Minnesota may be over-seeded and has virtually no one on the roster with NCAA Tournament experience?”

    In the play room (don’t judge) spanking a near perfect butt in dim lighting of one who appears to be a handsome bearded younger man strapped in a sling: “You will tell me who you picked in your bracket! Address me as sir, not daddy! So … you have the Bears, Bruins, Wolverines, Irish, Mountaineers and Friars going deep with great penetration this year?”

    At brunch: “You look like an intelligent little girl whose Barbie doll most likely has helped you picked many winners in your previous brackets. Who do you have winning the whole thing this year?”

    Based on the results of such proven and scientific research, I am much more confident this year. I truly believe I will, no, I shall surpass my previous 50th percentile glass ceiling. Sorry, I can’t share my winning picks with you this year because I don’t want you to be a winner since there can only be one winner and I shall be that winner! March Madness is here. Who did you pick in your bracket?

    John Chen, a UCLA alumnus and an avid sports fan, has competed as well as coached tennis, volleyball, softball and football teams.