The Beagle Bracket

March 14, 2007 at 12:08 am 3 comments

The men in my social group take March Madness very seriously.  Every year, they request Thursday and Friday off from work and they convene at our house to watch the first and second rounds.  One year my neighbor, Cherie, noted all the cars in front of the house for days at a time and grew concerned.  She thought someone had died!  Nope, just watching basketball.

Typically, we hang a giant bracket in the screened-in porch to keep track of the winners of every match-up.  And typically, each person carries a printout of his own picks so the winners can be highlighted and the bad guesses can be crossed out with fury.  One day, many years ago, perhaps 2002, I came home from work (I don’t take March Madness as seriously) and was shuffling some of the numerous bracket printouts out of my way.  At the top of every printout was the name of who it belonged to.  The usual names were there and then one stuck out.


“Henry?” I asked.  The nearby beagle started to wag his tail.

“Yeah, I did a bracket for him.” Sean said.

I inquired how a dog goes about making March Madness picks.  It turns out Sean compared the mascots and picked the one Henry would be most frightened of.  That’s no easy task– Henry’s frightened of a lot.  Every year since then Henry has always had a bracket.  His pick logic has evolved through the years.  I believe the current algorithm is:

  1. Henry never picks a 16 seed over a 1 seed.  “That’s just not fair,” Sean says.
  2. Henry picks whatever team has the mascot he is most afraid of with two exceptions:
    1. If the mascot is a dog, Henry will pick it because he likes dogs
    2. If the mascot is a tree, Henry will pick it.  Why?  “Because he’ll want to pee on the tree,” Sean says.  Thus in Henry’s brackets, Stanford tends to get pretty far.

Some years, Henry has done surprisingly well in the early rounds.  I have heard at least one person rant, “I can’t believe the damn dog is beating me!”  Luckily for his human competitors, Henry’s scary-things+dogs+trees approach usually catches up with him in the later rounds and his progress declines.  I believe two years ago he dropped to 30th out of 52 participants.  That does mean, however, there are 22 people who can legitimately gripe about being beaten by “the damn dog.”  🙂

Sean refers to March Madness as “the best time of the year.”  I have to imagine Henry would agree.  He hates to travel (because he is scared, why else?).  But with March Madness, he gets to stay in the comfort of his own home.  He gets to sit on the couch and watch TV for four days straight.  He gets quality time with his best friend, Kevin Ledman.  And there are plenty of people around to drop or give him food.  That’s the life. 

So with two more days until the first tip-off, we’re still in preparations.  Sean’s still debating the menu.  We still have some cleaning to do.  I’m still worrying about my fledgling attempt at a bracket and hoping the damn dog doesn’t beat me.

But Henry… he’s ready!  After working through first round dilemmas such as “what is scarier a Volunteer or a Colonial?” or the ever tricky Wildcats vs. Wildcats scenario, Henry’s got his bracket (Final Four: Butler Bulldogs, Southern Illinois Salukis, Georgetown Hoyas, Albany Great Danes).  And this evening, Henry picked out his seat on the couch.

Henry’s Ready

Let the games begin!

Entry filed under: Basketball, Beagles, Henry, Ledman, March Madness, Sean.

March 12 The Dirty Potty

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christina  |  March 14, 2007 at 5:54 am

    ’22 people who can legitimately gripe about being beaten by “the damn dog.”’ LOL! I’m pretty sure I’d be one of them. I always come in close to last with my picks.

    So if the two opposing teams mascots are both dogs, how does Henry choose?

  • 2. Clint  |  March 14, 2007 at 9:11 am

    I’m glad I don’t know what March Madness is 🙂

    I actually believe the obsession with sports is detrimental to our society… Like the Romans with their Gladiator shows, it lets people obsess way too much about the wrong things. But to each his own )

  • 3. tgaw  |  March 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    @Christina- I spoke to the expert (aka Sean) and he says with a dog on dog match-up, Sean will make a judgement call for Henry.


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