Oh yeah! It’s that time of year again. It’s March Madness, bay-beeeee, and that means I’m happp-eeeeee! And all you have to do to feel like I do, is to devote four minutes of your life to this, which a local newspaper is making the case for turning it into the official state song of Virginia (Pharrell is from Virginia Beach).
But I digress.
It was so wonderful to see so many of you Sunday, even As I Stood Dying (pardon me, Mr. Faulkner) from the flu. Beth put out a spread of food — with assists from many and haranguing by her eldest son that her knives were not properly honed — worthy of any Huldah Rhyne notions of overabundance at the buffet table. Dell was quick to welcome Rowan to the house with an invitation to hear knock-knock jokes, and Rowan was quick to make sure Ellie (who has babysat the Rockett on a number of occasions) that she was NOT going to be in charge here and, thank you very much, today my gurrrl is Elizabeth. Who knew a 2.5 year old could taunt like that!
Of course, as so many Rhyne reunions do, we ended up gathered around the TV, watching ACC basketball. Rebecca — the sole Duke representative, since Libby and Dub were Homer Alone — was gracious in the face of much raucous support for UVA, not from the two UVA grads in the room (Daniel and Honor), mind you, but from Elaine and Caroline.
Since so many of us did see each other so recently, and so many more saw each other in December at Dot’s Hot 90 party, and at Daniel’s wedding in May and Sarah’s party the November before that, I hope you all feel as blessedly connected to one another right now as I do. Thank you, my cousins (and I don’t care if you’re my cousin-once-or-twice-removed or by marriage or whatever, you’re my cousin).
As in the past, to get to 32 teams for our tournament of champions (I’m ignoring the NCAA’s crass attempts to expand the number of teams that get to dance with the play-in games), I had to do some doubling up. This year I put Ed and Gwynn together (where they belong, of course!) to form EdGwynn, which is how Daddy’s name might be pronounced in the Bronx (Hey, EdGwynn, go get me a sangwich from da corner deli). The sisters unite with Dot + Lee as A Lot. Two other twosomes are Sarah and Kiran as SaKi, and Daniel and Honor as The Donner Party. Finally, there’s dad and son together, Rowan and Dan as Dan Rowan (check your Laugh-In lineup for further details).
So, without further ado, may I present, the latest installment of the Mostly Annual Rhyne-Blyth-Patterson Specialty Treatment for Pattern Baldness and Muffin Top Beat Back NCCA March Madness Extravaganza!!
|Beth||George Washington – 9E||VCU – 5S|
|Carl||Delaware – 13E||Oregon – 7W|
|Caroline||Wisconsin – 2W||Creighton – 3W|
|Christine||Tennessee – 11M||Albany – 16S|
|Claire||Western Michigan – 14S||Milwaukee – 15E|
|Dan Rowan||Cal Poly – 16M||Weber St. – 16W|
|The Donner Party||Michigan St. – 4E||Pittsburgh – 9S|
|Dell||Harvard – 12E||Iowa St. – 3E|
|A Lot||Memphis – 8E||Nebraska – 11W|
|Dottie||American – 15W||Tulsa – 13S|
|Dub||Stephen F. Austin – 12S||Duke – 3M|
|EdGwynn||Arizona – 1W||Villanova – 2E|
|Elaine||Wofford – 15M||Dayton – 11S|
|Elizabeth||Louisiana-Lafayette – 14W||Stanford – 10S|
|Ellie||North Dakota State – 12W||Kansas – 2S|
|Gordon||St. Joseph’s – 10E||Michigan – 2M|
|Jim||Baylor – 6W||N.C. State – 12M|
|Joe||Gonzaga – 8W||New Mexico State – 13W|
|Karen||Kansas St. – 9M||St. Louis – 5M|
|Katy||N.C. Central – 14E||Texas – 7M|
|Libby||Virginia – 1E||Louisville – 4M|
|Martie||Massachusetts – 6M||Ohio State – 6S|
|Megan||UConn – 7E||Coastal Carolina – 16E|
|Mike B||North Carolina – 6E||Mercer – 14M|
|Mike P||New Mexico – 7S||Weber St. – 10W|
|Pierce||Colorado – 8S||San Diego State – 4W|
|Rebecca||Wichita State – 1M||Syracuse – 3S|
|Rhyne||Kentucky – 8M||Oklahoma St. – 9W|
|Rivers||UCLA – 4S||Florida – 1S|
|Robert||Arizona St. – 10S||Cincinnati – 5E|
|SaKi||Providence – 11E||Eastern Kentucky – 15S|
|Susan||Manhattan – 13M||Oklahoma – 5W|
As always, this years teams were picked by the Cat Commissioners, each of whom has been assigned a bracket this year: Brook in the South, Jinx in the Midwest, Julep in the East and River in the West. Take a moment to click on the snap at right to learn more about this august group of chuckle butts.
I must also give a shout-out to my young son, who just turned seven (sev. en.), and who diligently read out the teams and seed numbers to me when he should have been in bed. He already knows that Mama will put just about anything on hold when it comes to basketball. Or tennis. Or “Law & Order.” Or french fries. Or because it’s Tuesday. Or…….
ANYWAY, all I can say about these team selection is WOW. I can’t recall when so many were so well endowed, so to speak. Last year one person (Dottie) had a startling seed total of 4, and the next closest was at 7 (Ed). But this year, we have EdGwynn with 3!! Followed closely by Rebecca with 4, and then three (Rivers, Libby and Caroline) with 5. Oh, it’s going to be exciting!
On the other hand, it was nice knowing you Dan Rowan. Two 16 seeds pretty much guarantee that the D.C. Duo will not make it past Friday. Mama Christine’s not looking much better with a seed total of 27, but with Baby No. 2 due at any time-out, I suspect they all have a few other things on their minds (like taunting Ellie, Ro-ro).
The No. 1 seeds went to Rebecca (who had a No. 1 seed last year in 2013 winner Louisville) with Wichita State; Libby with Virginia; EdGwynn with Arizona; and Rivers with Florida. On the other end of the spectrum, Dan Rowan has two 16 seeds, I have one in Coastal Carolina (where flooding is job 1) and Christine has the last (Albany).
As mentioned, Rebecca had Louisville last year, and she can’t stand Rick Pitino. This year, she has Syracuse, and she can’t stand Jim Boeheim. So the lesson to all of you is to provide a roster of teams you can’t stand (it’ll have to be a long one to match Rebecca’s!) and maybe you’ll have a better chance of being assigned them next year — one caveat, they have to be good teams. I don’t think it will work if tops on your loathing list is West Central Vermont State and Technical BMX Institute.
Dub is no doubt thrilled to have been assigned his alma mater (Duke) and Katy, too (Texas). And Mike B. has North Carolina, where he may not have graduated from, but to where a large chunk of his income has traveled over the years.
Elizabeth has what might be the two most diametrically opposed academic traditions: Stanford and Louisiana-Lafayette, while Dell and Susan have cultural-location opposites with Harvard and Iowa St. and Manhattan and Oklahoma. Robert has an old fashioned cat fight with the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Arizona Wildcats. Carl’s a bird brain with the Delaware Blue Hens and the Oregon Ducks. And Ellie has the Battle of the Flatlands with North Dakota State and Kansas.
I’m getting this to you just an hour away from tip-off, so hopefully you all have your picks made for the office pool and can now concentrate on this more important form of bracketology and family feuding.