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The End Zone Seat: Brackets? I Don't Do Brackets

I'm not sure when I lost interest in college basketball and, especially, the NCAA playoffs.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure it started, ironically enough, when I went to work full-time for the sports department at the daily paper upriver.

When you spend five nights a week answering phones in a newsroom without a television, it's easy to lose touch with a lot of things that used to interest you.

Come to think of it, during my time there, I somehow missed the entire run of "Friends" with the exception of the special one after a Super Bowl one year.

Basketball on television, and college basketball, especially, just doesn't get me excited.

I don't think it helped when the players could show up to play at a school for one year and then take off for the NBA. It's really hard to follow a team when the roster turns over faster than a guy on a bed of hot coals.

And I've never been into the office pools, playoff brackets and fantasy leagues that have proliferated in the last 20 years.

Obviously, when you don't follow college basketball, filling out a bracket is strictly a guessing game. I'd be better off flipping a coin than trying to guess the winner of a game between an 11 and 12 seed.

Then there's the matter of loyalty.

If I did have a team I followed, I would certainly have a difficult time betting that they lose on my bracket, even if I were sure they couldn't win.

That's one reason that I don't bother with fantasy leagues.

There is no way this San Francisco Giants fan is going to put himself in a position where I end up wanting a Dodger to get a home run off Tim Lincecum.

Even worse, rooting for anyone in a Dallas Cowboys uniform.

I did play a non-cash NASCAR fantasy league one year while I was at the Times Leader.

In that league, you were given a certain amount of "money" to use to form teams. Each driver had a pre-set dollar value with the better drivers costing more than the weaker ones.

The goal was to use as much of your "money" as possible to assemble the team.

As least I could buy my favorite driver and then try to work the rest of the budget to put together a decent team. I remember that I tried to see which drivers did well on the intermediate tracks since they make up the biggest share of the NASCAR schedule.

If I remember correctly, each week the league had two owners pitted against each other with the won-loss record being kept to decide the champion.

It was interesting because there were times when two guys would face off with a lot of the same drivers on their rosters. The difference between winning or losing might be decided on whether Joe Nemechek finished ahead of Bobby Labonte.

I don't even recall where I finished in the league, but I was competitive through most of the season.

One of the guys in the league took such little interest in it, that he kept a driver on his roster that had stepped out of the car for some reason, either firing or voluntarily.

It was fun for a while, but like the real NASCAR season, the longer it went on, the less interest everybody had in it.

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