Whoa there. Kinda fell off the face of the earth there. I must have been kidnapped by Vespa Solidarity and made to join forced scooter marches through rough Indonesian terrain, crowded city streets and picturesque waterfalls.
The Elite Eight was perilous for our #1 seed holders. First it was the Sufferers of Fools and Kansas getting crushed by a Susan’s Nova (not NOVA — Northern Virginia) Wildcats. Then it was Katie’s O-team losing to Elizabeth’s O-team. Then Rebecca’s Cuse (the only “cuse” I want to talk about are barbecues) dismissed Sarah so Cavalierly. The trend put a wobble in Robert’s Heels (I love saying that), but that #1 seed prevailed over its challenger, Notre Dame, and the Force is no longer with us.
There was much hoopla leading up to the Final Four. Many expected fireworks between two teams ranked #1 during the regular season, but Elizabeth and Oklahoma must have wished the game ended Sooner rather that later, because Susan absolutely beat her child senseless: a 44-point smackdown.
Robert was kinder to Rebecca when UNC beat Syracuse for the third time this season.
So here were are: fewer than three hours away from tip off (you know, tip off at 9:17, just to make sure we first-gen cousins understand perfectly that we are not the CBS/TBS/TNT/Tru target demographic) and wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall of the Patterson abode in Atlanta?
We’ve never had a husband/wife face off for the championship before, and this could quite possibly be the pilot for a new reality television series.
While I would love for Robert to show Susan who’s boss (Commissioner’s prerogative to root for ye olde alma mater), I gotta say that Villanova is looking gooooood. Will Susan be wearing the pants in the family come the final horn? Or will it be Robert be wearing the yoga pants?
Have you met Bubbles? Bubbles is Mike’s 50th birthday present to his ever-nagging, long-suffering, only wife. She’s a black Vespa that has made my daily trips to the Williamsburg post office much more enjoyable.
Since I’m now in the two-wheel club with Jim, I’ve been trying to emulate his many exploits. Remember when he navigated the autopistas of Central and South America, taking photos along the way and graciously sharing with us his observations, thoughts and tales?
Well, here’s my own travel blog chronicling a similar journey:
Going Postal: An Epic Journey to the Post Office
on North Boundary Street and Back.
Oh, and congratulations to our Sweet Sixteen victors. Four ACC teams out of the remaining eight. The Coates family was wiped out when the seeds held to form and pushed Maryland, Gonzaga and Miami were all blown away.
The Survivors are still pretty representative of the family. The Force — the greatest generation — is still in, as are the second-to-youngest generation, with Elizabeth, Katie and Sarah. The first cousins are represented by Rebecca, Robert and Susan. And the Sufferers are hanging tough, too. Of the six individuals left, there are three Pattersons, two Blyths and one Rhyne.
Drink lots of caffeine tonight and tomorrow so you can stay up to watch the second games for each. Good luck!
Everyone who had a heart attack watching the first round of games, raise your hand. Me!!!
What was your favorite heart-attack moment? The Cincinnati basket at the buzzer that didn’t count? The half-court prayer that doomed Texas? How about Yale sending the Baylor Bears into hibernation? Or was it the simple fact that Michigan State went down in a blaze of vainglory to the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee?
As you’ve likely already read, there were 13 upsets in the first round, which is shocking (not to be confused with The Shockers of Wichita State) in and of itself, but the impact on the family brackets was even more shocking. Those with low seed totals nonetheless found themselves with only 1 team left at the end of that round, while Daniel with his family high of 30 improbably remained.
Alas, nothing could save Mike B.’s, Christine’s or Karen’s sorry picks. Mike P. and Beth both fell victim to a bad seed and an upset.
Hanging in with one team were Carl, Caroline, Claire, the Sufferers of Fools, Daniel, Dottie, Dub, Elaine, Elizabeth, Ellie, Gordon, Jim, Katie, Libby, Megan, Pierce, Rebecca, Rhyne, Rivers, Robert, the Third Cousins and Susan.
And prancing and dancing into the 2nd round with both teams were Dell, the Force, last year’s champ Joe, Martie and Sarah.
But not for long….
First off, I have to say that the second round couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Prompted by my encyclopedic sister Rebecca to go to the doctor to check out the pains I was having along my face, neck and shoulder, I was diagnosed with shingles Saturday morning. (“All the Shingle Ladies, All the Shingle Ladies, If you liked it you shoulda put a rash on it.”) It was the perfect excuse to stay in bed ALL DAY Saturday and Sunday and watch lots and lots and lots of basketball.
Dell went down hard in the second round when his Providence Friars lost to the Good Guys and his Bad Guys (Kentucky) lost to Indiana (Not as Bad But Still Not Great Guys). Also felled like a tall pine tree was Carl, whose Stephen F. Austin blew a 12-point lead over Dub’s Aggies with 44 seconds left and then lost in double overtime. Timberrrrrr.
We also lost Caroline, Clarie, Daniel, Elaine, Libby, Pierce, the 3rd Cousins and moi.
But 16 of us remain (none with both teams, that is), and six ACC teams do, too. I’m hoping that we can turn the Final Four into the ACC tournament semifinals. Good luck to the Sufferers, the Force, Dottie, Dub, Elizabeth, Ellie, Gordon, Jim, Katie, Martie, Rebecca, Rhyne, Rivers, Robert, Sarah and Susan.
Note the entire Robert Patterson family is still in, as well as a sister, mother and brother-in-law. But tonight he will battle said sister, while his mother tangles with his son and his daughter faces off with his brother-in law. We could write a soap opera!
The Sufferers will face another married-in when Kansas plays Jim’s Terps (anyone notice that the Maryland Terrapins (turtles) played the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits (hares)?). Gordon will face his Aunt Rebecca. And yes, Ellie, the HURRICANES, are still playing.
I’ll try to get back to everyone before the Saturday games. Hoop it up, chilluns!
You think I’d plan accordingly. As if it has not happened each of the previous nine years: the Virginia General Assembly ends, Sunshine Week (Nirvana Week for us open government/FOIA geeks) hits, Dell turns another year older, the teams for the NCAA tournament are selected, and I am caught as flatfooted as CBS was when it tried to drag out Selection Sunday to two hours even though the bracket it was unveiling had already been leaked online. Hence, the annual mad dash and scramble to get teams assigned and the website ginned back up.
But so dedicated to this endeavor are we at Tournament Central that we completed our own selection scenario via Face Time, with me in Fredericksburg, where I gave my first open government talk in a hookah lounge (“‘You’ll get used to it in time,’ said the Caterpillar [to Alice].”), and Dell at my home computer.
This technological stretch was too much for the Cat Commissioners. Their tiny little heads simply exploded when they saw the tiny little picture of my head and knew not where my feet and hands might be. (“One side will you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter,” said the Caterpillar as it got down off the mushroom and crawled away in the grass.)
But pick we did, and folks, we are in for a doozy of a tournament. I foresee much taunting and passionate defense from our lot, that is, when five of our lot deign to set foot on U.S. soil again. As you may or may not know, Elaine, Mike, Karen and Rebecca have been visiting the set of “Life of Brian,” braving dead seas, wailing at walls and kibitzing at kibbutzes, while Beth’s been on the other side of the Middle East crisis, lounging on a balcony in Abu Dhabi while strains of “Dixie” filter over the PA system (ask her about it).
The tournament will be no doubt be bittersweet for us, no matter how dooziful it is. Bitter because it’s our first one without Mr. Basketball himself, #. . ., um, # . . . , what they heck number was he? Anyway, a member of the 1945 South Carolina State Basketball Champions, from Calhoun-Clemson High School, MISter EDwin RHYYYYYYYYYNE! He and Mama shared a love of basketball, and I spent many many an afternoon as a young’un watching any and every basketball game that ran on network TV. His beloved Clemson Tigers did so well in football this year that I can’t help but hope that his beloved Tar Heels will make a similar (though ultimately successful) run in basketball. Yes, I’m biased.
But sweet because this is our first tournament with two new young’uns and their concomitant first-time parents and grandparents. We are all thrilled to welcome Simon and Revi to our growing ranks. It will be so much fun to watch them grow and explore and wonder and achieve and merge into this family and the family of their other parent.
I was telling Rebecca that when Daddy used to show me pictures of his extended family and point to people who were his second cousin, his third cousin, his first cousin once- or twice-removed, my eyes would glaze over and I’d think that once you started getting into second and thirds, that they would necessarily be remote and distant. But now I know better and different. Everyone who has come into this family feels to me just as close and special as the ones I was born knowing. But lest you think I’m getting too soft now than i’m 50, I’m going to draw the line at fifth cousins or some such because then you’re into Eleanor and Franklin territory and being able to marry your cousin and I’m just not ready to cue the banjos yet.
I put the two littlest third cousins together with their older and wiser third cousins, Rowan and Cora, to form one of my annual mashups to get to 32 people. They are the 3rd Cousins. I also put the doyennes of the family — Lee, Dot and Gwynn — together as the force that they are. They are The Force. And then there are those troupers who’ve married into the family and have no choice but to suffer my overconfidence (see, I’m so overconfident that I intentionally didn’t use the word arrogant). They are the Sufferers of Fools.
So, with no more circumstance and just a little pomp, may I present the 2016 Rhyne-Blyth-Patterson-Mostly-Annual-I-Thought-About-Postponing-The-Selection-Until-After-A-New-President-Is-Picked-But-The-Republicans-Stole-My-Idea NCAA Basketball Extravaganza!
(Cora, Revi, Rowan & Simon)
of Fools (Dan, Honor & Kiran)
(Dot, Gwynn & Lee)
First off, our #1 seeds are in the proud hands of the Sufferers of Fools, a Patterson, and two Blyths (sisters, no less). And Robert has crushed it with the lowest seed total for the two teams combined: 6. The Sufferers of Fools are close behind with 7, as is Pierce. The Force is sitting pretty with a 10. On the other end of the spectrum, Daniel’s dying with a total of 30, while Mike B. and Caroline are on life support with 29. At least Mike B. gets this ditty for his two teams: Let’s go Peay in the Stony Brook! Caroline gets the award for the pairing of two teams farthest away from one another: Hawaii and Hampton.
Rhyne is no doubt pleased as punch to have his parents’ alma mater of Duke and another ACC team to boot, while poor Duker Rebecca has to once again shoulder the burden of carrying Syracuse, a team she hates and a coach with whom shares the same birthday.
Jim snagged one of the three schools from which he holds a degree and will champion the Terrapins, in addition to my and Rhyne’s Buffalos. And this should not be confused with Buffalo, which is Elaine’s team. And her other team, Iowa, should not be confused with Iona, which is Susan’s team. Carl’s team is Stephen F. Austin, which isn’t in Austin (Nacogdoches). Ellie may be the most confused of all considering Dayton is in Ohio, Ohio University is in Miami, and Miami is in Florida, where many alligators and retirees live, and oh my head hurts.
So, even though two play-in games are already in the books, I will consider tomorrow the start of the tournament. I expect my eyes to start bleeding from so much TV round about Friday at 3 PM. Take care of yourselves, peeps!
I’ve been getting my bigs ready to play. We’re gonna pound it in the paint, make it rain threes and, at the end of the day, God is going to be good to us and take us to the next level. We’re not going to throw up bricks or shoot any shot that draws iron. We’re going to be money and we’re going to knock down our free throws. They will need to take a time out just to stop the bleeding. They’re a great team, but we’re going to give it 110%, make a few smart fouls and just pray that the man upstairs is wearing our team colors.
Can I get an AMEN!!!
Well it is Easter.
The Sweet 16 brought us another round of exciting games, and then there was Kentucky versus West Virginia. If I might create my own basketball cliche, may I say that the Mountaineers’ played so badly, they couldn’t have thrown a beer bottle onto a burning couch. That was about the biggest beat down I’ve seen period, much less in the Sweet 16, much less between two teams that were supposed to be within at least arms length of each other. It made the comment by one of the two announcers for WVa’s second game even more ridiculous. He said, “West Virginia. They play so tough. They make you question your manhood.” Thanks, but I haven’t questioned my manhood in quite some time now.
But I digress. Marty was the victor there, and then again in the next round. Her Tarheels couldn’t make it past Claire’s Wisconsin Badgers in the third round but her Kentucky Wildcats roared into the Final Four with a narrow victory over Beth and Notre Dame. Sooooooo close.
In other Sweet 16 news, Beth’s Louisville advanced to represent the Elite 8 by beating fellow ACC’er NC State, thus sending her daughter packing. Ellie was also the unfortunate holder of West Virginia. In fact, she and her brother were the only two to go in with two teams and come out with none.
Caroline’s Arizona made easy work of Gordon’s Xavier, while Rivers’ Gonzaga bruised the Bruins of UCLA and Mike B. Joe’s Duke muted the Utes and Gordon to boot. And Beth shocked the M&M Wichita State Shockers and sent us fizzling out.
After the Sweet 16, this is how our chart looked.
Notre Dame (3-MW)
Michigan State (7-E)
Still with both teams:
Beth, and only Beth!
One team left:
And then we were on to the Elite 8, where Beth met the same fate as her kids: two in, zero out. But before we got there, the Rhyne sisters had a wonderful 3-hour meet-up for lunch and a visit with Ed Rhyne, the birthday boy, who turned 87 (I know, a young’un compared to his sisters). He followed along, interjecting here and there, as conversation veered from Virginia Woolf’s sister, to daffodil varieties, to the ridiculous things our mom’s mom used to say. Daddy has only a slight smile in the picture, but he had a much bigger one in an earlier one, not because we asked him to say, “Cheese,” but because Rebecca urged him to say, “North Carolina Dirt Famers!”
Beth headed back to D.C., while Rebecca and I settled into our respective couches for the first two games of the Elite 8. That’s when Beth’s luck of the Irish ran out and Kentucky. The other Wildcats — Arizona — could not fend off the Badgers. Pierce’s improbable Spartans sent Beth’s Louisville a calling Cardinal (not a Stanford Cardinal, mind you), and Joe’s Blue Devils put a spell on Rivers and the Zags.
After the Elite 8, going into this weekend’s Final 4, this is how we look:
Michigan State (7-E)
Each with one team:
That’s two Blyths and two Pattersons. The Rhynes will be on the sidelines eating grubs. And drinking beer. And cheering for the ACC.
Mike, Dell and I are heading to the mountains with some friends Saturday and I won’t have guaranteed Internet access until Tuesday. GASP!!!!! But I’ll try to check in anyway because we’ll certainly be watching the games.