Rafe and I have been watching football together since the first time he conned me into making dinner for him at his dorm in 2007.
I grew up in an NFL house, but when we moved to Austin for law school, the Longhorns quickly became our team and I adopted the NCAA as my league.
Together we wear our burnt orange and cheer loud. Together we maybe cried a little when Justin Tucker kicked the field goal against A&M. Together we decided season tickets the last year of law school was a good idea. We ushered Mack out the door. We watched with excited anticipation as Charlie took over the program.
Last season though, Rafe told me that something had changed. I just didn’t seem as “into it” he explained. (I suspect it had something to do with the newborn baby laying on my chest, but WHO KNOWS.) He suggested it was because he had joined an office football pool and I felt left out. It was no longer only important that our team won, but that they won by a certain number of points. And also we needed to watch ten games a weekend. And care that the right team won each of those by the right number of points.
It was stressful.
He had a solution: I should join the pick ‘em league as well.
I hesitated, because well, Rafe was right. I wasn’t as into it. I barely knew the starters for our own team and couldn’t tell you much about any of the other schools. Buying into this pool would be irresponsible because I was uninformed. As with most things I do, I was afraid of looking dumb. The other participants are mostly guys he works with. I didn’t want my poor performance to reflect on him professionally.
“Well Mr. Schaefer you’ve been doing really great work here at the firm and we’d love to bring you on this very big, very important case. But you see, your wife picked Florida State over Mississippi, and that’s dumb and we can’t have that here. Fired.”
Totally plausible, right?
I don’t remember for sure how Rafe talked me into committing, but I think Yoda had something to do with it.
So last week I printed off my pick sheet and began to look at the teams. I would make a pick against the spread, then rank each pick 1-10 as my confidence level to determine how many points I received for each game.
ESPN was running all sorts of (insert Conference here) preview shows, so I crammed. I read the news section of the ESPN app and briefly tried the Bill Simmons podcast. It was Friday evening and picks were due Saturday morning. I started ranking my confidence levels on the teams but ran out of low numbers pretty quickly. I didn’t feel like my research helped at all. I had nothing left to do but hit submit and hope for the best.
The weekend was full of insane upsets, double overtimes, and second half comebacks.
I won first place.
I cannot stop laughing about it. The manager of the league sent out an email saying there are four women in the pool of 55 entrants and reminded everyone that one of them won the entire league last season and that the girls are likely to take all of the boys’ money. I’m happy to do it.
So I leave you with this question:
Who run the world?