Monday, March 24, 2008

"Sheet of Integrity"

Listeners to the Mike and Mike morning show on ESPN radio will recognize the title phrase. "Sheet of Integrity" refers to, as I have recently become convicted, what a sports fan is obligated to stick with when participating in multiple NCAA tournament pools. 2008 is the first year that I have limited myself to one "Sheet of Integrity."

Every year I hear the same self-justification from fellow pool junkies: "I have Teams A, B, C, and D in the Final Four for my office bracket, but I entered Teams B, C, F, and J in my Cousin Vinnie's pool." I admit that I have been guilty of succumbing to the temptation to post different brackets in different pools. Mike Golic's reasoning was enough to convict and convert me. I am hereafter a one-bracket per year guy.

- Adds to the tension with each game. One bracket makes each pick more of a do-or-die scenario.
- Legitimizes boasting about correct upset picks. If you had all your money on Team X making the Final Four when no one else did, you have sole bragging rights. If you picked against Team X on your other three brackets, you lose all credibility.

- If you have a crucial team fall early, you lose all your money in all your pools early.
- Not only do you lose money, but you likely lose much interest.

Win or lose, Opening Day is just a few weeks away!