Banman – Finally, a bracket with bipartisan support |

Banman – Finally, a bracket with bipartisan support

President Obama and I have discovered common ground, at last. We both are picking the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

It would be easy to be critical of the guy in the First Office for spending time on the seemingly mundane task of evaluating the popular basketball tournament that has become known as March Madness. I can only imagine the uproar we would have heard from the mainstream media if, during his presidential tenure, George W. had been on national television going over his bracket.

However, I will not be dragged into a battle of mudslinging. I am willing to take the first step toward creating a little bipartisan hugging and goodwill. Let’s cut these guys some slack.

For Pete’s sake, a president never gets a moment alone. He, or someday she, goes to the bathroom and somebody is likely posted outside the door. Security cameras probably peek back at him, or someday her, when he, or she, opens the refrigerator. Filling out a basketball bracket is probably as close as he, or she, gets to sanity during his, or her, tenure in office. I say that we, as the public, decree a little slack for the occasional recreational diversion. Just think how crabby you might become after four years of non-stop scrutiny.

My magnanimity probably stems from the fact that the First Bracketeer has come around to my point of view regarding the top basketball team in the land. I have a lot of quirks and traditions (some might call them superstitions) when it comes to being a fan. Picking my favorite team to win, however, is not a hangup for me. I do a lot of weird things during games, but predicting who I think will win doesn’t jinx the deal in my world.

When the First Prognosticator made his picks last year, he correctly predicted North Carolina as the eventual champion. You can call him a frontrunner and a guy unwilling to take a risk, but he does seem to know his basketball (even though he bombed the first round of picks last year).  The Kennedy family had legendary touch football games, Lyndon Johnson loved to bowl, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton golfed and George W. Bush used to go hunting with Dick Cheney.

President Obama loves to shoot hoops to unwind. He and I are ideological opposites, but I have to give him this one. Nothing clears my mind like 20 minutes of mindless shooting. The constant swishing sound that the ball makes as it goes through the net sooths my soul.

One downside to the fact that the First Final Four picked the Jayhawks is that I can’t surprise people with my pick and win the local office pool. Disclaimer: The preceding statement describes a hypothetical situation. If I were to have entered an office pool in 2008 and if I had made a wager, I would have won an unspecified prize because I was one of the few people to pick Kansas to hoist the trophy. Hypothetically, I may have actually won two office pools.

Have you ever noticed that people, such as myself, who are too pious to purchase a lottery ticket, aren’t afraid to lay down a few sawbucks in a contest over which they have little or no control? It’s as if I (in my hypothetical example) believe I have some sort of inside knowledge that nobody else is clever enough to unearth.

I wonder what the First Great Eight has wagered. I know he can’t say it out loud, but what does a man with that much power put on the line, Rhode Island? The next nuclear submarine contract? When “One Shining Moment” is played, is the First 12-5 Upset calling in his markers?

This is a great time of year. If this country could figure out how to harness the energy, money, time, passion, excitement and sacrifice that goes into following college basketball over the next 19 days, we could have world peace, solve world hunger and have every child literate by April 19.

Shoot, if we spent as much time working as we do finding ways to hide the fact that we aren’t working, we could double our GNP. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

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