Monday, March 29, 2010

Beaten by a Monkey

Today is an historic day, my friends. It’s because of how atrociously horrible my bracket was/is. I’m sure that yours is awful too, but I have conclusive proof that mine was worse. For the first time in the recorded history of the world, I have been bested by a monkey in choosing basketball game winners. Allow me to explain:

For the past 8 years or so, I have been a part of the annual Beat the Monkey challenge, a collection of March Madness brackets hosted by our immediate church family the River of Life. We all enter our brackets with the sole goal of choosing winners more effectively than the Monkey. It’s a bonus to be better than the other players too. This year, I became the first person to ever lose to the Monkey (as a slight consolation, I was joined by my good friend and bracketologist, Linda, who chose so poorly she lost to the monkey as well).
Who is this Monkey? Here’s a little history of who the Monkey is and how he came about:

About 20 years ago, near the end of the month of March, one Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, my dear friend Kevin exclaimed in frustration, “A Monkey could pick these games better than me!” He said this assuming that a Monkey would have no foundation on which to choose winners of NCAA tournament basketball games, and a headlight clicked on(that’s a lightbuld of an idea in one’s head, not to be confused with the ever cool and useful battery-powered lights attached to headbands and worn especially when camping, or powerful items that illume the road before your car, or any other slang you kids may use these days). The Monkey was born.

Since that day, each year a fully random bracket has been produced in eventfully creative ways, and dubbed “The Monkey.” Some examples of past Monkey brackets... a coin flip for every game; team names drawn from a velvet bag; ask a magic 8-ball the winners; randomly assign a team in the field of 65 to chest hairs on my friend Josh and then pluck them out and measure, the longer hair winning the matchup; and having an African Maasai warrior, who’d never heard of or seen a basketball, choose the winners. In 20 years of such randomness and madness, no real human NCAA fan had ever lost to the Monkey.

Here’s how this year’s Monkey came about:

1- The 64 teams were placed in random order (

2- 64 actual song titles were selected from "The Monkees"
anthology of works....Including such classics as: Tapioca
Tundra; Randy Scouse Git; Teeny Tiny Gnome; Zilch; Tear the
Top Right Off My Head; and "Don't Listen to Linda” (prophecy?).

3- The 64 songs were placed in random order.

4- The Monkey, drained from excitement and anticipation,
took five for a banana break.

5- The randomized list of tournament teams was matched up
with a randomized list of Monkees songs, thereby assigning
a song title to each team, which would serve as the key to
the picks from this point on.

As an example of how this worked, the top 4 seeds were randomly
assigned the following songs:
Kansas: "Tear the Top Right Off My Head"
Kentucky: "Auntie's Municipal Court"
Syracuse: "I Wanna Be Free"
Duke: "Star Collector"
(Cornell was the lucky recipient of "Don't
Listen to Linda")
The complete list of 64 may be obtained upon request to Commissioner Kevin.

6- For each round of tournament picks, the song list was
randomized by the computer. The Monkey then started at the
top of the list and the team whose song showed up on the
list first was declared as a winner to move on to the next
round. The list was then randomized again and the process
was repeated to choose winners for that round, and so on
until a champion was declared.

And so it was. And I got smoked. Way to go Monkey. But I’ve got you next year.
I like to think this was the 2010 March Madness Monkey, he looks like a ringer:
We’re open to ideas for selecting next year’s Monkey (which I vow to destroy). Whatchya got?

*as a side note to the Monkey Madness, I discovered a great way for dealing with telemarketers while typing this: struggle mightily with the language and ask him to repeat every question about 5 times. He gave up on me!

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