Category Archives: Single Dad Survival

March Madness

Let’s get this out of the way at the start: I suck at picking NCAA tournament games. I think there was a time in my youth when I would occasionally do alright in bracket pools, but it was so long ago that I can’t really remember. All I know for sure is that I have struggled to stay out of last place the past three years in a pool with friends.

Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here are my picks for the 2014 NCAA Tournament:

NCAA-Bracket

 

The 2014 National Champion will be … the Arizona Wildcats.

Or so I hope.

My method for this madness is to do a little bit of research and then combine it with a theme or feeling – which is almost certainly the part the screws up my bracket.

This year, my theme is that the Pac-12 is pretty good. Thus I have Arizona winning it all, UCLA making the Final Four, and Oregon upsetting Wisconsin in the second round. I was tempted to pick Stanford over New Mexico and may end up regretting not doing it, but I wanted to limit the number of upsets I picked because I’m in a small pool. As for Arizona State, well, they’ve lost five of their last seven games since defeating Arizona in double overtime. I just don’t see them advancing.

I picked UCLA to the Final Four based on the momentum factor. I believe they are a good team and they are most definitely hot. I’ve got them upsetting Florida because, while I think the Gators are a very good team, I think the SEC is overrated and the relative lack of competition will come back to haunt the #1 team in the country. (Yeah, I know, their 26-game win streak fits the “good and hot” profile.)

My Michigan State pick follows the same logic as the UCLA pick – I think they’re good and they are on a roll. I like Virginia a lot, but I just don’t think they are quite ready for the biggest stage. This could be another pick that I regret making. Hell, let’s be honest – there will likely be all kinds of picks that I’ll regret having made.

I’ve got Wichita State in the Final Four because I remember how well they played last year. They are a very physical team and all indications (a 34-0 record, for starters) are that they are better than last year. That said, Louisville is one of my teams – they always have done well for me in the tournament – and I may just regret not picking them and their latest hot streak.

The region that I think may completely blow up is the West region. A lot of shaky teams there, in my opinion, which is another reason for picking Arizona to win it all. I think they have the easiest route to the Final Four.

One more item of note: I think this may be the first year in a decade that I haven’t picked Gonzaga to win at least one game. I hope they prove me wrong, though I don’t want them to take out my champion pick of Arizona … unless they go on to win the whole thing; then it’d be worth it.

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Go Hawks!!!

Here it comes!

I’ve been a Seahawks fan since the start and I can name quite a few early-years Seahawks off the top of my head – Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Kenny Easley, Jacob Green, Jeff Bryant, Michael Jackson,  Fredd Young, Efren Herrera, Steve August. I could name more, but I think that’s enough to establish my credentials as a long-suffering Seahawk fan.

As a life-long Seahawks (and Mariners, and Sonics) fan, I know as well as anyone that we have had our share of lows. Way more than our share. As as result, we’ve never had a reason to truly be optimistic in the face of the unknown. In the face of a challenge.

Until now.

What’s different this time? We have got a large collection of players who are not overwhelmed by “the moment” – in fact they rise above it. They are poised for greatness. Wilson, Lynch, Baldwin, Harvin, Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas, Wagner, Wright, Bennett. They are all the type of competitor who hears what fans and media around the country say and figuratively “spit in the face” of such commentary. They KNOW that they are destined for greatness.

This is a quality the 2006 Super Bowl Seahawks didn’t possess. Hasselbeck? Alexander? I loved those guys, but please.

The closest team that Seattle has had to this Seahawks team for swagger would be the Sonics teams of Payton and Kemp. The problem for them was they ran into the GOAT, Michael Jordan.

I believe that won’t be a problem for this Seahawks team. Their opponent is the Denver Broncos, led by Peyton Manning. While he has had a record-breaking season and is a first-ballot hall-of-famer, it’s important to remember that just a few short weeks ago the national debate centered around whether he was the biggest choker in the playoffs. Victories over a 9-7 Chargers team and a patchwork, post-spygate Patriots squad may have removed Manning’s name from the Greatest Choker of All Time hat, but I’d hardly say that paper with his name on it has floated into the OMG He’s a Cutthroat Competitor Who Wins All the Big Games bag.

At the risk of looking completely foolish in a couple of days, I’m putting it out there:

The Seahawks are going to win Super Bowl XLVIII!

Peyton Manning is great, and I give him much respect, but I believe the world is about to discover that these Seahawks are destined for greater things on the big stage than Manning.

Predictions:

Final score: Seattle 30, Denver 20

Russell Wilson will win the Super Bowl MVP while passing for around 200 yards and being responsible for two TDs.

Sleeper MVP – Jermaine Kearse

Seattle’s defense or special teams will be responsible for one touchdown.

Richard Sherman will get an interception.

He will shout (a little) during and after the game.

The Seattle D will have three interceptions in the game.

Bobby Wagner will have at least a dozen tackles, force at least one turnover, and collect the defensive MVP.

GO HAWKS!!!

Exercise and My Physical and Mental Health

Just finished another walk – 2.2 miles this time. I started taking these walks a few days ago as a way to tackle my poor physical health (re: Mr. Tubby), but I’m discovering that they’re having a more immediate positive impact on my *mental* health. As I stroll through residential streets, the sights, sounds, and smells of Spokane suburbia are like a bellow to the embers of America that I’m moderately surprised to discover still existed in my soul. Big, blue skies. Expansive parks (with softball fields!). Freshly cut grass. The sound of a soft wind blowing through the pine trees. Dumb adolescents talking about dumb, summer-vacation things (like a dumb, adolescent Scott once did). Lawn mowers and edgers. The scent of pine needles and bark and freshly-lit Kingsford briquettes (though not all at once, mind you).

Yes, a couple of more kinks have been unlocked in my complicated soul … and I’m glad to be home in the U.S.Spokane Valley 01 Spokane Valley 02

Group Portrait

This is my daughter, Maia, posing with her friends. She is absolutely the light of my life. She’s a little sweetheart, smart as a whip, a great little dancer (videos coming), and very photogenic, so there will be many more photos of her in the future.

Capiche

Now I’m really wondering whether Maia’s saying “promise” or “capiche”. We were looking at the photo of her and young Scott and she said, “Maia’s cute. Papa’s no cute.” I said, “What are you talking about? Papa’s cute.”

She looked at me with that look in the photo and said,

“Papa! Maia’s cute. Papa’s no cute. Capiche?”