The Broken Bracket

March Madness is afoot.

Theoretically, this could mean a lot of things to a lot of people.
March Madness may be the absolute zaniness that occurs when people are told to walk in a straight line, in step with everyone else. And they just can’t do it. Hup one, two, three, four. They break out of line and run about screaming, “Revolution, Revolution!”

Orrrr. March Madness could be the loss of one’s cool, when things remain cool outdoors. Yes, the need for Spring to sproing into action. And the colder the day, the more mayhem ensues. A March Madness individual is known to run through the bed on non-existing tulips, singing like Tiny Tim, as they tiptoe. (Three more days until the March 20 Spring mark, you fiends!)

And then there is the Sports Fanatical Type. The Roundball Variety. The NCAA Basketball Tournament Type. Although I fit squarely into all three categories, this is my favorite little slice or March Madness Pie.

Yes, the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tourney began on Thursday. I kept a watchful eye, as my brackets crumbled into obscurity.

You See. This is a fun big deal for the Polly. And, as such, I created a couple of “Groups” on ESPN, for all of my friends to join. If I knew your email address, friend of mine, you got an invite. I sent out quite a few hooks, but there are only about 8 of us playing. Which is fine. I have 8 trusting friends on the planet. Eight. Friends. On the whole big blue ball. Only. Eight. There was a TV show called “Eight is Enough.” Maybe the Universe was trying to tell me something long, long, ago.

Okay then. No matter. On Facebook, it says I have 800 friends. So I am going to run with that number.

But truly, I like this whole tournament competition from a spectator point of view. The competition of the brackets. It mirrors life.

(Oh hell. Everything mirrors life in my little brain.)
But here is how it works this time.

We can try to prepare ourselves for the tournament picks. We can learn about the teams, and pay attention to their seeds. We can watch diligently, and cheer on those DAWGS or those CATS from the tops of our lungs. We can pay good attention. Conversely, we can approach the whole thing nonchalantly. Casually. Without any knowledge at all. The flip of a coin.

But then the games are played. The points are scored. The ball bounces. Yes. The lives are lived. And there are outcomes.

And not an ounce of our avid learning, or absolute indifference, has affected this outcome. Not one bit. The truth of the very big matter is that we have no control. And when I say no control, it comes with a big NO.

And that is our lives. We can try to know, and figure, and calculate, and prepare. We can be completely engaged, or wholly indifferent, and relaxed. But what happens in any given minute will happen. At a moment’s notice. No thanks to us.

Oh sure. Sometimes we are able to nudge things this way and that. We work to create ourselves and our destinies. We go to school, to work. We toil, achieve, strive. Powerless does not mean inactive, by any means. But ultimately, that piano could fall from the sky. The ball could bounce. Or the cookie could crumble.

We learn this sometimes. And when we understand HOW to accept our powerlessness, the depth of our peace increases. Our peace with ourselves, with others, with this world. It grows when we ease our resistance to whatever is happening out there. All of this lends an appreciation of life. And that is when we find peace.

It may feel like madness, at times. But if we give way, our precious selves will know peace.

Except when it comes to my basketball brackets.


“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers


“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.”
― Marvin Gaye