I’ve been sitting here in front of my computer for a good two hours trying desperately to find a topic this week that might involve a little smattering of fun. At the moment, that’s not an easy task. Right now, Vlad the Mad continues to send missiles day and night into towns and villages all over Ukraine. Not a whole lot to chuckle about there. According to reports, not only are Ukranians running out of food and water, but so too are Russians.

Elsewhere, the Supreme Leader in Iran seems to be bent on ramping up its nuclear program. Very few players on the world stage – most especially Israel – are comfortable with the official Iranian government line that it only wishes to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Uh-huh. And that “Death to America” sign painted on parading Iranian missiles lately was surely meant to be just a little Khamenei Comedy.

Not to be outdone, the “Dear Leader” of North Korea made sure no one is forgetting him by launching several ever-more-powerful missiles of his own into the sea.

Then there’s inflation. The price of just about everything you can think of is skyrocketing, led by petrol’s cost at the pump. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to fill up when my tank hits about half primarily so I don’t accidentally encounter a $100 surprise. It’s just a whole lot easier psychologically to say, “Oh, $50? Gosh that’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.” The gas gives me the privilege of driving to the grocery store where $100 of food supply fits easily into two plastic bags. (I think they use the second one mainly to make me feel better. It’s really pretty light.)

Plus, crime is up, there’s talk of a new Covid variant, and you can’t find many of the things on retail shelves that used to be plentiful.

Even college basketball is barely providing much fun for those who filled out a bracket with friends, neighbors, or fellow workplace aficionados. Nobody I know picked Saint Peter’s to be in the Sweet Sixteen. As a matter of fact, nobody I know (well, maybe one guy from Jersey) had even heard of Saint Peter’s, let alone was aware they have a basketball team. Research has shown that Saint Peter’s has an enrollment of about 2500 students. That’s about the size of the college I attended. I’m thinking of writing a letter to the President of my school, suggesting that the Annual Fund may skyrocket if my Tigers are in the tournament next year. Who cares if we’re only Division III right now? Time to step up the game – literally.

As with many NCAA tally sheets, mine seems to have a lot of red marks on it, signifying teams that have been summarily eliminated from the field. (On the plus side, as I write this prior to the second weekend of contests, I DO still have two teams alive that I’ve slotted to be in the Final Four. But neither of them is going to be the champion I originally chose.)

That first weekend of hoops just basically added to the world of woes in which we seem to be mired. So, I thought it might be a good idea to propose this: I’m wondering if it’s possible to start all over again with a Second Week Bracket. Kind of like when the Lottery (at least here in Georgia) allows you to go online, register, put in your losing number tickets (which are most of them, of course), and be in the running for a prize of some sort. It’s not millions of dollars, but I’m sure it’s a lovely consolation gift.

Those who are somehow someway ahead in your all-tournament pools can certainly continue to gloat and make fun of everyone else. Your skill (well, luck) in picking winners gives you permission to do that. However, I think the majority of us could really use the pick-me-up of getting to choose a new Elite Eight, Final Four, and eventually Champion in the tournament.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. And you can feel free to join me (even if you’re a little late). If you picked with your heart (and lost) the first time around, now’s the time to pick with your head. I’ll bet there are a bunch of folks in Lexington, Kentucky; Waco, Texas; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Auburn, Alabama (among other stalwart basketball bastions across the country) who will think this is a really good idea.

It may even brighten your mood. At least for a day or two.


©MMXXII William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer