Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I filled out my first Final Four bracket this week. And I won’t lie — I just had to wing it with many of the choices. That’s because I’m a relative newbie to the details of college basketball.

I grew up in a house where basketball was discussed, high school games were a Friday night event, and Big Ten ball on television was background noise on the weekends. Go Spartans! So there’s really no excuse. But I just didn’t soak in the specifics, which seemed complicated.

When my kids began kindergarten, I entered the world of recreational sports. And, of course, had to learn about plays, positions on the court, and scoring. But I still never grasped the details. I was just happy if they played, shot in the right basket, and got good exercise.

My experience playing high school basketball ended after seventh grade, when my greatest claim to fame was intercepting the ball during a game, breaking away from the pack, running the full length of the court, and scoring. The only problem was it was in our opponent’s basket.

From then on, I was pretty much an Around the World, H-O-R-S-E kind of fan. But now that the sports guys sit right outside my office and some of my closest friends are into it big time, I’m trying to catch on.

After all, when it came to putting pen to paper, I knew that Michigan and Michigan State had a pretty good season. Gonzaga did well in their world. And Louisville is favored in polls.

But I also relied on a lot of Julie-isms. Things like the fact that I lived in Boulder for a long time so naturally chose Colorado to win a few games. And that a college recruiter from Syracuse once told me what a good athletic program they had, so they might be a good choice. And that my cousins are from Florida, so I picked them.

Bottom line is that I’m trying to plug into more conversations about basketball and sports, in general. And to expand my horizons into a world I don’t really know much about. Who knows, I might even get a round or two right. And if I’m really lucky, Louisville may win it all.

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