Last week I received this email from my nephew, who sends one out each year to our Thanksgiving list of 21 family members.
“Alright everyone, the Madness is here. I just sent out the invite from ESPN, so check your spam folders.
Get your picks in by Thursday at noon!
I wish you no luck at all. I want to win.”
I had 3 thoughts simultaneously:
- I have 2 hours to participate in the March Madness family bracket — my whole family is watching these college basketball games and this year I’m not going to be an outsider.
- How do I log-in, which teams am I supposed to pick, how can I this join a sports club when I have no clue, with only 2 hours to figure it out until the deadline?
- And finally, “Fake it old girl. You got the big invite you get to play with the big boys, don’t blow it.”
Thanks to my husband, I got initiated by fire with a 15 minute primer on March Madness brackets. It looked easy enough to check the boxes of Colleges whose names I knew. One hour later I was launched out of my Mom ghetto (the ghetto where no kids live — only Mom’s who hear second hand about all the fun their kids are having.) I was officially a March Madness Mom.
These are desperate times. I have 2 boys and 5 nephews, and they have cousins who are not cousins by blood but they think they’re cousins… out of 21 people there are only 8 women in our joined families. Just one other auntie participates in March Madness and she knows what she’s doing.
But this time, I decided I didn’t care that I’m clueless…I want inclusion. I want to be on the inside.
So that’s how I became a March Madness Mom — better known as a Mom who joins their kids in a sports bracket game she has no business being in.
This is what March Madness Moms do:
March Madness Moms spend hours on an ESPN site figuring out the odds for who is going to win with only one piece of information. A little number next to each team that ranks them from most favored to least and an emotional tie to a College.
A Mom always tells her kids to be prepared so they don’t make fools of themselves. But, a March Madness Mom accepts that she is uninformed and steps up publicly and claims her rightful space.
A March Madness Mom watches teams she has never watched all year long. She becomes a screaming basketball fan, keeps the TV on during dinner, checks in with her bracket hourly, learns a new language that her boys are willing to respond to.
A March Madness Mom wildly sends texts to her kids — texts she never thought possible. “Can you believe that Wisconsin beat Villanova — huge upset – I mean huge!” They tolerate her — she knows they are smirking but who cares? At least they are responding — “No it’s not huge mom.” The criticism gives her total joy. She smiles because she knows she’s a player and at least they responded.
A March Madness Mom puts her ego on HOLD. It is a time of pure humility. It is about modeling the worst behavior ever. She tells herself she got an actual invitation to join but she was only included because she was on the annual Thanksgiving group email….no one REALLY expected her to join.
A March Madness Mom now watches every game with her husband. She finds herself in a bar on a Saturday afternoon catching a game — she volunteers to cook dinner so they can watch Baylor upset USC. She screams – that win puts her in 4th place in the family bracket. But she wasn’t looking to win — was she? A March Madness Mom is suddenly hooked and obnoxiously shoots her boys a text saying, “Booya…I called that game.”
A March Madness Mom tells herself she only wanted to be playing on the same team as her kids – she would be content to check her bracket and lose simply to be in the “room where it happened.”
But then her teams start winning..
A March Madness Mom blindly stumbles her way into becoming “the shit.” She has moved from a self-fraudulent wannabe to a player who is gunning for the brass ring.
A March Madness Mom becomes an insider — she moves from being an invisible part of the “cc” club on a group email to a real participant.
A March Madness Mom can’t wait to see her boys next weekend and hang out in whatever bar they choose or, on the couch, for the entire weekend to watch the next rounds.
She knows it’s Madness
It’s March Madness
But she’s a Mom, and she will be forgiven.