Last year I wrote a bit about the Buck Back, the weird, hybrid pool and fantasy-type draft we have when the NCAA Basketball Tournament begins. The linked post explains the rules, to the extent they exist. Basically eight people put in eight bucks and select all of the teams in the NCAA Tournament through a serpentine draft, and each time one of your teams wins you win a buck back.
My 2010 Buck Back grid
This year I drew the ace from the deck and got the first pick — which is good and bad. You get to pick what you consider to be the best team — or at least the team most likely to win it all, given the draw — but then don’t draft again until the 16th selection. I chose Kansas for my first pick, and then followed two simple rules for my remaining picks: (1) choose the best available school, preferably from a tough conference, that has some prior NCAA experience; and (2) try to balance your teams to end up with two teams in each bracket. I did a decent job following the first rule, but failed miserably on the second. In order, my draft was Kansas (pick 1), Texas A&M (pick 16), Xavier (pick 17), Texas (pick 32), Florida (pick 33), Washington (pick 48), Murray State (pick 49) and East Tennessee State (pick 64). (When you draft first, your last pick is the last team left.) I ended up with 1 team in the Midwest regional, 1 in the South regional, and 3 each in the West and East regionals, which makes me uncomfortable.
In retrospect, I’m a bit skeptical of my drafting approach, but this year’s draft was complicated by the number 4 seed given to Purdue. With the gut-wrenching season-ending injury to Robbie Hummel, and E’Twan Moore coming up gimpy in the Minnesota game — a game where Purdue was able to put up only 11 points in the first half — Buck Back participants were very skeptical of the Boilermakers’ ability to win even one buck by beating Siena. The Boilers fell all the way down to the 24th pick whereas, if you were picking strictly by seeding, a number 4 seed would be picked no later than number 16.
I should know early whether my Buck Back team blows. Florida plays the first game in the tournament tomorrow, with a 12:20 p.m. tip, and 6 of my 8 teams play Thursday games.
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Posted in Travel, World, tagged Blarney Castle, Blarney Stone, Guinness, Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, Travel, Vassar, World on March 17, 2010 |
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Today Russell and the members of the Vassar men’s rugby team are in Cork, Ireland, where they visited Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone. What better place to be, and what better thing to do, on St. Patrick’s Day?
We can only hope that the intrepid lads ended the day with some corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes, chased down with a few pints of Guinness and perhaps a Smithwick’s or two, to fortify them all for tomorrow’s match.
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Posted in College, Family, Growing Up, Reflections, tagged '70s, 1970s, College, Family, Growing Up, High School, Old Clothes, Reflections, Shirts on March 17, 2010 |
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For some reason, I still have a shirt that I got when I was in high school. I probably bought it around 1973. It is a blue patterned shirt with a front pocket. The basic label, the one placed under the collar at the back of the neck, has long since fallen off, so there is no way of telling who sewed and sold the shirt way back when. We will never know if it was Sears, or J.C. Penney, or Lazarus, or The Union, or some other long forgotten retail or department store chain.
The '70s shirt
The only remaining label is a little tag that says the shirt is 50 percent cotton and 50 percent synthetic and is machine-washable. No kidding! The shirt probably has been washed thousands of times — so many times, in fact, that the pattern and color have been worn off the collar, leaving big blank spots. Over the years, the shirt also has become gossamer thin in places, like around the elbows and at the shoulders, where you might stretch the shirt a bit putting it on. Still, it obviously was well-sewn and well-made — the fact that it has survived for more than 30 years is a testament to its quality.
I’m not quite sure why I’ve kept it for so long. It definitely was a favorite shirt in high school and college, worn with the collar open, a Clapton or Neil Young t-shirt underneath, and the sleeves rolled up. It saw its share of classes and desktops, of campus bars and typewriters, of summer internships and newsrooms. At some point — probably when we lived in the D.C. area — I stopped wearing it regularly, and it was placed in the back of the closet. There it nested and remained, without being seen or worn much. I don’t know when I last put it on, but I’m confident it has not been for decades. After a while, the shirt became less an article of clothing and more of an object of tradition to be ritually carted from new home to new home and placed in a closet to keep watch over the other garments.
I’ve now had it for so long that it almost wouldn’t be my home if the shirt weren’t around. In a weird but real way, it is comforting to have an item that I actually had and wore when I was a callow youth. It makes me realize that, under the years and the grey hairs and the pounds, at least a part of that pimply kid still lurks.
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