As I see it: This bracket thang


Henry Zbyszynski/Wikimedia Commons
The United States faces the USSR hockey team in the 1980 Olympic Games.

You can sum up this sport in two words, You Never Know.”
Lou Duva
boxing trainer

I’m a huge fan of all or nothing.

In all or nothing it comes down to this, it’s not how good you are it’s how good you play.

Sudden Death.

Wild Card.

Game 7.

And OT.

Those who win in the clutch may not be the best overall, but that’s not what it is about, the truth of the matter is it’s about who’s best in the moment.

I love it.

It is the Cinderella story, it is the one moment in time when a team, when an individual can transcend the game, it is the joy of watching the improbable unfold in front of you.

Great moments are born from great opportunities.”
Herb Brooks
Head Coach 1980 USA Gold Medal Hockey Team
The Miracle on Ice

Beat the expected, that’s why we watch.

I’ll be honest when the USA hockey team beat the Russians, tears ran down my cheeks as I sat on a couch in Buffalo with my wife watching.

It wasn’t because I was a hockey fan.

It wasn’t because I had anything personal against the Russians.

It was because as I sat there I watched a slower, smaller, non-professional group of guys rise to the moment, each and every player played the best game of their lives at that point.

No one knew they had it in them, except the player himself.

Years later I met Mr. Brooks at some ESPN thing, told him I cried when they won, he told me I wasn’t the only one, and then he said this, “You know I really thought we could do well against them.”


Not knew.

There is a huge difference there my friends, huge.

Knew” means you are expected to succeed, “thought” means it could go either way.

Either way,” is the soul of sports, “either way,” is why we watch, I have personally seen “either way” make careers of those tagged with that expectation.

As I write this I have no idea who will be in the bracket thang, I don’t do sports math, don’t read the box scores, don’t even look at the weights in this game.

I look into the eyes of those who play it.

I listen to the words they say, each word, every word.

And I listen to what they don’t say as well.

An NFL linebacker once told me he knew it was a running play if the running back set up behind the QB and wouldn’t look across the line at him.

Listen not to those with the most quotes, listen also to those players who are silent. My sports math favors the quiet ones.

Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts, I’ll win a pennant every year.”
Sparky Anderson
MLB Player/Coach/Manager
MLB Hall Of Fame Class of 2000

This is it for these eight Elites.

Win and you’re in the Classic.

Lose and you are in the Classic stands.

Any of you anglers not motivated by that need to find another profession.

For those of you who will watch this, and it’s live, so you will see all the guts and glory as it happens. Watch not only the scales, watch the player. There will be ups and there will be downs. There will be drama, and, as they used to say at ABC Wide World of Sports, there will be the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

I believe strongly in the saying that the more you sweat the less you bleed in battle, you are about to see that “live.”

I also strongly believe this, for one person winning this even could be a game changer in their lives.

Could change how they feel within about the game they play, and could change externally how others feel they play the game.

Think of this, the bracket winning dude gets a ticket to the Classic…and wins the Classic.

You talk about a Cinderella story, to me it would be the story of the year.

Yeah, I like this bracket thang.

Angler one on one against each other for a ticket to ride.

Possibly the biggest ticket we have in our house.

And then there will be just one.

Just one.

Which one, that’s the cool arse stuff right there.


Winning isn’t getting ahead of others. It’s getting ahead of yourself.”
Roger Staubach