My Sweet 16 is a pound of chocolate with ears


 I feel like an outsider this time of year.

Everyone is talking about how their bracket is doing, and I sit silently wondering why they are worried about a small piece of medal that supports a bookshelf.

I hear the term “March Madness” and figure it’s what happens to a person who doesn’t seek proper medical treatment for a raging case of spring fever.

Facebook only makes it worse. I scratch my head at some of the status updates: “go heels! turn it blue! And thanks for the win. See you in newark!”

What is “it” and why do you want it blue? Does Newark have some fascination with somber colors?

And when someone posts, “come on Huskies, you can do it!!” I picture a cheerleader giving moral support to the kitchen staff whose sole job is to prepare corn on the cob at the all-you-can-eat crab buffet on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Oh, I know they’re talking about the NCAA tournament, but I’m just not into it. To me, Sweet 16 refers to the number of ounces I like to see in my chocolate Easter bunnies.

The Elite Eight is the minimum number of Hershey’s Kisses I prefer to eat at one time. And the Final Four is number of chocolates that come in the heart-shaped boxes I buy every Valentine’s Day for my children.

It’s the same feeling I have every January when the NFL starts playoffs, and even every August when those same teams start practicing for the upcoming season.

It seems every guy in America, and a good number of women for that matter, gear up to watch men they don’t know play a game better than they themselves could ever dream of playing.

I’ve tried to understand the fascination at different points in my life. I’ve been to my share of Super Bowl parties, and have watched a game or two of college and professional basketball on TV.

Neither took a hold on me.

My wife and I went to many Baltimore Orioles games in the mid-1990s, and even had a season ticket package for several years before our daughter was born nearly 10 years ago.

We haven’t been to a game since, and I haven’t missed it.

Still, I feel like an outsider whenever a sports season peaks. Guys bond over sports. Sometimes it’s the only topic they can talk about, and I have little to say on the matter, which can cut a conversation short.

But that’s OK. It’s hard to talk with all that chocolate in my mouth anyway.

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