The Legend of Cecilio Guante
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Goodbye, Mistress Bracket


I want CHAOS. ANARCHY. Give me the first #16 seed victory. Double digit seeds scattered everywhere into the later rounds. Brackets CRUSHED INSTANTANEOUSLY. That’s what I’m rooting for in this year’s NCAA Tournament. In fact, it’s been that way for six years now. Ever since my mistress and I parted ways…

Originally published on this blog on March 18, 2008.

Hell hath no fury like a bracket lover scorned…

She’s been a part of my life since my early youth. She took me in. Seduced me with her beauty. Tauntingly dangling that irresistible combination of joy, exhilaration and pure ecstasy if I could ride her all the way to the top of that mountain of pleasure. I spent late nights with her. We staged epic fights. I lost sleep every March contemplating why I even bothered myself with her repeated teases. But, alas, it has come time to say goodbye. To the lies…the unfulfilled fantasies..the promise of an everlasting love that was never to be. That’s right Mistress Bracket, you are being shown the door.

Since I can remember, I have done everything to satisfy you. I’ve watched the tail-end of Big Monday tripleheaders in junior high from the WAC to the Mountain West…put in the time and commitment to identify the point guard at Long Beach St. or wax poetic on the inside prowess of the UTEP Miners’ front line. I endlessly wrestled with unanswerable questions like how Padilla and Travieso would stack up versus other backcourts come tourney time. I watched games from the Big Sky. For you, dammit! For you!

But, over the years, you’ve sapped my resolve. Despite the affections I’ve showered upon you, my love has been…scorned. Sure, perhaps, there was a fleeting feel here. A third place pool finish and a peek under the skirt there. Yet, so much more often, you’ve run off with dumb meatheads and even other women who couldn’t identify an Orangemen from a Minuteman. Those who don’t know Coach K from Special K.

And for my few brief glimpses, how many times did you break my heart? How many sheets did I agonize over 8/9s and 5/12s? For what? Enough is enough. It stops now. Hundreds of dollars and unnecessary stomach acid be gone. You know why? Do I not find you attractive anymore, Mistress Bracket? Of course, that’s not the case. Your perfect symmetry. Your air of mysteriousness and unpredictability. Your layer upon layer of complexity. I will miss it all. But it’s time I reclaimed control.

That’s right. No longer shall I hide my feelings for the George Masons and VCUs, because they threaten my relationship with you. No, this March I will cheer for my Cornell Big Red. I will curse Duke, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Why? Because I have never truly harbored anything but hatred for those teams. I only cheered them on because of you…because of the unrealistic dream that we could win it all together.

Now, it’s time to stand up to you. I don’t need you anymore. I will watch the tournament uninhibited. I will cheer on the mid-majors and Cindarellas, unabashedly throwing my admiration and loyalty to Winthrop and Belmont. I will enjoy the tournament without your ridiculous demands, because I know only despair lies on the other side.

So, goodbye, sweet Ms. Bracket. Perhaps, we’ll meet again down the line. But, for this March, I must stay true to my heart. So, let’s go all you under-appreciated teams out there. We’ll be ready to help you put on your glass slipper, without fear of the repercussions from Mistress Bracket, killer of dreams.

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