March is my favorite month – and that is not only because it is my birthday (yes, I turned the big 3-0 yesterday, thank you thank you). It’s also home to March Madness – the most addictive and compelling month of sports.

It’s a time to root for the underdogs as if your life depended on it. Regardless of your allegiances, that day when a 16-seed finally knocks of a 1-seed will be the most amazing thing that ever happened to you (until you come back down to Earth). Forget swimming pools and carpools, it’s the office pool that reigns supreme this time of year. People that usually wouldn’t bet a nickel on anything gladly give up $5-10 or more to predict a bracket of schools they (by and large) know nothing about. Heck, sometimes it’s an advantage if you go into this knowing less…

I’ve had some success in my bracket busting history. In 2001 I got out of the first round with  a 27-5 mark and actually broke the Top 100 (81, I believe) of the ESPN.com standings for that first week. I also correctly picked 15-seed Hampton to shock Iowa State in the first round – which in the science of sports prognostication is basically akin to putting your neck on the line. I’ve also picked some long distance Cinderella runs. I had Davidson in the Final Four the year they just missed beating Kansas in the Elite 8. I had Butler in the Elite Eight the first year they went to the Final Four. So yeah, I tend to live and die with the underdog.

It wasn’t until last year that I got to go to the NCAA Tournament in person. My sister and I attended the UConn-Bucknell and Missouri-Cincinnati first round games in Washington, D.C. While both weren’t all that competitive (and UConn eventually won out for the title) it was great to finally experience it in person. This year I’m rooting for my Montana boys to roll over Wisconsin and maybe into their first ever Sweet 16 (just watch, they’ve won 20 of 21).

If you want to enter our humble little bracket challenge, here’s the link to the group on ESPN. If enough people participate I may even feel compelled to give a little prize to the winner (a Weekend Roady t-shirt, perhaps). I hope a few of you try your luck!

Oh and I had a great 30th – though I hardly feel the age. I guess it’s true that you never grow up inside – you only age on the outside. Yet, somehow, I still feel like I’m 15 or 16. Maybe it has to do with finally succeeding in not cutting my hair for one whole year (March 15 is the officially 1-year anniversary there). Not a very grown-up thing to do… Ah well, enjoy your Monday folks, we’ll be back to regular travel-related posts tomorrow.


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