Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 27, 2014

VALLEY: Win a few, lose many more

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I watched a movie last Saturday that was made sometime in the 1930s. The writing was brilliant. Filmed in black and white, as was the norm of the day, it was a tense, dark comedy that captivated the very essence of the motion picture industry. 

I’m not sure if it was a true story or based upon one, but what I liked is the fact that it didn’t drag on laboriously as some films of the modern era are prone to do. In fact, it was only 20 minutes long.

The 3 main characters — Larry, Moe and Curly — are suspiciously close to one another, yet likable. They deal with some peculiar situations throughout the film.

Sadly, at the end, they are sentenced to death. When asked by the judge which method they preferred, Curly showed no hesitation in opting for, “Old age!” Nyuk, nyuk!

And that brings us to today’s topic: the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I’m getting killed in my bracket pool.

And it’s not a slow death. The initial tip-off pretty much signified the end of any hope I had of coming home a winner. But that’s how I roll.

Disclaimer: Because it is illegal to bet money on such endeavors, cash is strictly forbidden. Instead, we put up houses, cars and children. First- and second-place prizes are unknown until it’s over. But, usually, the last-place winner takes home someone’s mother-in-law.

But I digress. I am usually full of optimism when I get the bracketology forms. (I love that word … bracketology. Anything with “-ology” in it has such a scholarly ring to it. Is “bracketology” even a word?)

Whom I get them from shall remain anonymous for obvious legal reasons. (I told my son, Eric, not to worry because “mum’s the word.”)

When I picked up the forms this year, the anonymous person who handed them to me gave me a tip. “Every year some team comes out of the woodwork and surprises everyone. Keep that in mind when you fill out the sheet. And, by the way,” he added, “are you and mom still stopping by after supper?”

I went home determined to fill out the bracket with sound picks. I researched the Internet and watched every sports show available. Any magazine or newspaper that touched on the subject, I devoured with the appetite of a hungry lion. I was determined to win.

With my homework complete, I came to one conclusion: the first tip I got was the best. Picking the favorites was for losers. I was going for the upsets.

The next day, I went back to that nameless guy’s house and handed him the filled-out sheet. He said, “Let’s see who you picked for the Final Four.”

“Check it out,” I said, “I think you’re going to be surprised.”

“Great,” he said full of anticipation, “OK, then … let’s see ... you’ve got … DEVRY COLLEGE? … in your Final Four!?!”

“‘Out of the woodwork.’ Those are your very words,” I reminded him.

“But, Dad ... who else have you got? What’s all this scribbling … ‘That art/drawing school that’s advertised on match covers’?! That’s one of your picks? And ... Mohawk Community College? Friendship Nursery School?!”

“Dad,” he said, “you’ve already got seven mothers-in-law at the house, what are you going to do when another one moves in?”

“Move out! Soyt-in-lee!” Nyuk, nyuk.

Yeah, I don’t think I have what it takes to pick a winner out of the 64 best teams in the nation. Maybe I can pick the NIT winner. You know, the 65th best team in the country?

(Ever wonder why they even bother to celebrate for winning that? I wonder if they make one of those large foam hands you can slip on holding up 65 fingers!)

Anyhow, that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.