Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Big Dance

For all of you sports lovers, and all of you poor souls married to sports lovers, let me wish you a happy March Madness.

This is a great time of year. The weather is finally turning warmer. School takes a nice break. You get to scratch your head over the asininely complex jumble of ridiculousness that is the US Tax Code and hope you can finish before April 15th and your head explodes.

And you get to fill out a bracket. Let me state here that I hate the word "bracketology". Everyone, please stop using it.

Filling out a bracket used to be easy. You'd find one in the newspaper or print one yourself. You'd deftly calculate that there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 brackets possible (two raised to the 63 power). Then you'd randomly pick teams and lose whatever bracket competition you entered because you forgot that not all nine quintillion brackets are equally likely.

Nowadays, though, everything can be done online. This has many repercussions. For example, it means you can e-file your taxes, which basically guarantees that you will spend several extra hours trying to figure out why the blasted IRS won't accept your e-filed return.

It also means that your bracket has to be online. Sounds simple, right? Like, how hard can it be to go to a website and use that website to choose winners of 63 games? And how hard can it be to calculate the number of games played in a single elimination tournament?1

Apparently too hard. Without going into detail, let me simple say that neither I nor my wife were successful (though she made it much farther than I did). We could humbly accept our defeat at the hands of the almighty internet, but this is America! I need someone to blame! So I have decided to write espn.com a letter and hint not-so-subtly that their web designers could use a course in web design.

Let's just hope my taxes go better.

1.If there are N teams, every team except the tournament winner must lose, so there are N-1 games. Thank you Math 501!

1 comment:

bek said...

okay. now this makes sense. saw this on jer's blog first. this explains all.... jer ranting to chris about sports and government. should have known...