Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tournament Time Helps My Sad Sack Guilt


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Most of the time I'm completely embarrassed that I don't have a full time job, work for myself, raise kids or engage in any daily activity I consider remotely acceptable. When interacting with strangers I usually feel compelled to offer some brief explanation of why a woman with no children or wealth doesn't grind out the 9-to-5 like every other adult and often feel even more awkward than before I opened my mouth. But during March Madness? Well, during March Madness I allow myself to feel a tiny amount of pleasure that I get to watch every single game and follow every single piece of tournament-related news through every possible outlet up to and including Twitter because I answer to no one.

For me March Madness begins with the Big XII Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, which starts the Wednesday before Selection Sunday (the day the 65 teams selected for the NCAA Men's Tournament are announced). During the opening days of the conference tournament I get to kick back and watch the games from the comfort of my home while other b-ball fans follow along with the scores online and perhaps catch a few minutes of action on the radio. Then the weekend comes and everyone enjoys the champsionship game and Selection Sunday on their collective leisure time. And all is right with the world. We painstakingly fill out our brackets and join our pools and believe anything truly is possible when Cinderella comes to the Big Dance.

Once the NCAA Tournament starts I get a little more of the super satisfying guilty pleasure of watching college basketball in HD from my recliner while other fans are, at best, forced to watch online. That might not sound so bad, but as someone who watched a few years of first round games online while I worked late, it is. Watching online totally sucks compared to watching on a big TV in a relaxed atmosphere. Granted, during the day everyone is in the same bind, and being able to watch online is actually pretty cool. Yay for modern technology! But if you're stuck watching online while working late it becomes super depressing. While all your friends are at sports bars in their fan gear you're sitting at your desk in your less than fresh suit wondering whether this job is really worth missing all this fun. And I had a job that left me stuck watching online (or worse, working) every single year. It was truly one of the only inconvenient things about my job, especially for an attorney, but it still sucked that the only time I was ever required to work overtime was during the NCAA tournament. I'll never have to worry about that again. It's a small consolation 99% of the time, but during the Big Dance it feels pretty great.

After the tournament I'll almost immediately return to my regularly scheduled "beat myself up with guilt" programming over not having a job or a career, but the breather is fun while it lasts. Not only will March Madness come around again each year about this same time, but maybe I can build on this little silver lining and gradually learn to treat myself with less contempt all year long.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.