Thursday, March 28, 2013


Week 2 - NCAA 2013

Well, I think I have finally recovered from the roller coaster of a weekend that was the round of 32! I thought that it couldn't get any worse than Harvard beating New Mexico but I was terribly wrong!

Before we even moved into the weekend games we had Georgetown bow out to FGCU, Kansas State lose out to La Salle and  Oregon beat OK State. That's OK though because things would correct themselves on Saturday and Sunday. But then #13 La Salle continued to roll getting by Ole Miss and #15 FGCU got by San Diego State and #12 Oregon got by St. Louis. At least we still have Gonzaga to cheer for...but that dream was shattered too by #9 Witchita State.

So the match ups for the Sweet Sixteen are:

#3 Marquette v. #2 Miami (Fla.)
#6 Arizona v. #2 Ohio State
#4 Syracuse v. #1 Indiana
#13 La Salle v. #9 Witchita State
#12 Oregon v. #1 Louisville
#4 Michigan v. #1 Kansas
#3 Michigan State v. #2 Duke
#15 FGCU v. #3 Florida

As for the separation that I anticipated for our little game, I was wrong on that one too. With 48 games played we have a spread from first to Mr. the Hut of 7 points. Leading the way is Ben sitting at 33 points. One point back are Jeff, Meghan, Sam and the reigning champ, Jim. Another 4 players, Al, Andrew, Mark and Matt are in with 31. Dan, Pete sit at 30 correct games along with me and my dad. Nathan, Kim, and Elaina are still alive with 28, 28, and 27 points respectively. Jason, AKA Pizza the Hut, formerly know as the Breakfast Club, rounds out our challenge with 26 points and has not technically been eliminated from contention.

Happy Thursday, enjoy the weekend!


Friday, March 22, 2013


2013 March Madness Begins

Remember back to when you were a kid. It's a bright sunny day at the end of June. The weather is warming up, it's the first week out of school for summer holidays. You've just finished grade two and you're mom told you that you can go out and play. As you're on your front step lacing up your kangaroo sneakers, you see the kids gathering at the swing set across the street at the park.  They all seem so big. And even though you're intimidated and a little scared of them you cross the street and join in.  You don't know the rules of the game, but that doesn't matter. You'll figure it out. You muddle your way through that first summer, making friends (and a few enemys), figuring out how the game is played.

A couple summers later, you're lacing up your shoes on the stoop.  Your mom doesn't need to give you permission to go play, it's just a given. You're the big kid. This is your time to play. This is your game.

I think the Tournament is a lot like that. It's 1999 and a little school out of Spokane, Washington has been invited to join the game.  People are surprised to see them there. They aren't supposed to do anything as a #10 seed. Play your  game and head home. Bask in the glow of even being invited.  But they played really well. They won three games, beating Minnisota, Stanford and Florida before losing out to the eventual tournament champions, UConn.

It's been 14 years since then and Gonzaga has been playing with the big kids ever since. They belong.

I wonder if we will see the emergence of another school this year.  A team that will step up and play the game.

Maybe it will be Harvard. I hope it's Harvard. If ten years from now we can look back and say that we remember when Harvard came in and upset #3 New Mexico, it might make up for how bad I feel now because Harvard distroyed my bracket!


We have the biggest field yet for the GEMBC.  17 participants in total.and through the first day of competition the group is still faily bunched within a couple of games of each other.

Besides Harvard, there have been several other upsets, including Oregon taking out OK State,  and Califonia taking down UNLV. If we have another day like Thursday we'll start to see some seperation and maybe get a glimpse of who the real contenders to the GEMBC title are this year and who's just here for the pizza.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The 2012 NCAA Champion is...

Each of us as a kid had some influence that got us interested in basketball. Maybe it was your first real school coach. Mr Pedersen coach the junior basketball team when I was in high school. I played two years for him but I think it's fair to say that he did not put that love in my heart. Why is it fair to say that??? Well I didn't play organized basketball after that.

For some it might be a friend who got you into it. When I was in junior high, my best friend and I would spend hours on my driveway or out behind his house shooting hoops. We'd even sneak over to the church, turn on all the lights and shoot around for a few hours. One summer, I was convinced that I needed a hoop for our garage so we went out to Canadian Tire and bought a Huffy special and set out to attach it to the house. We managed to do a pretty good job and it is still there to this day, 17 years after putting it up. But, I think my love for basketball came even earlier than that.

My dad grew up playing basketball. I am like him in that we were both skinny little kids who were fast and had a quick shot. When we moved back to Calgary, he took a basketball coaching course and started coaching in the community. The only real thing I remember about that time was the kid with his hair dyed in leopard print.

One of my best memories growing up was Saturday afternoons. After dad finished coaching we started to go down the road to the Jewish Centre on Saturday afternoons. He and I would load up in the old blue Buick and drive down. I was always nervous going in there, not because I was scared or anything, but mostly because I was excited.

Saturday Afternoons was when the guys would get together for a pickup game. We'd go in and get changed, then I'd make my way out to see Edna who would give me a ball. Dad and I would shoot around for a little bit while we waited for Ariel, Elliott and Arnon to show up. There were others but I don't remember their names. There was the guy with the big moustache, and the other guy who owned that movie memorabilia store up north, and that kid with the leopard print hair was there too. The gym always got really loud while the grown ups ran up and down the court. Sometimes I'd watch but mostly I'd go to the other side of the curtain and practice my jump shot. I was only 11 or 12 so wasn't old enough to play with the men.

Except every so often I'd hear them call me over near the end, and I'd get in there and run up and down the court with them, making magic passes (mostly to invisible players) and occasionally taking a shot that would clang off of the rim.

I think that is when I really started to love playing basketball. It was those Saturday afternoons that did it for me.

That love is probably the reason why this time of the year is so special to this day.

Moving on. I was rooting away this weekend while Kentucky beat Louisville and Kansas soiled my dreams by beating Ohio State. This lead to the Championship game last night. In front of a sold out crowd of more than 70,000 people at the Louisiana Superdome, these two teams battled it out. Kentucky came out strong but Kansas battled back in the second half to pull within 5 with a minute left. Kentucky was just that much better last night and earned Coach Calipari his first NCAA Championship. Even with his 1-10 shooting performance, Anthony Davis was selected MOP of the tournament. This is most likely not the last award the Freshman will be earning. Once he turns pro, (which I'm convinced he will do shortly) many speculate he will take the title of ugliest player in the NBA distinction away from current champion Chris Bosch. Just sayin'. Have you seen the eyebrow?

We know Mark won the most ambitious award of this years pool, finishing with 27 points. Jason bested him by 5 coming in with 32, Elaina lost the spousal sub-competition scoring 33 to Als 35 tied with my dad (who lost the offspring sub-category). Sam, who opened the competition talking a lot of trash kind of sputtered out after the first round, ending up with a respectable 36 correct selections. Jeff, Andrew and Matt came in mid pack with 38, 39, & 39 points respectively. Meghan and Dan finished just outside the (fake) money with 41 points a piece.

This years top three performers are:
Pete Rowe with 42. Pete, imagine what could have been if you had realized that VCU stood for Virginia Commonwealth!

I managed to squeak into second place, and was within an Ohio State victory of sharing in the grand prize trip to Palm Desert.

Which Leaves the lone Saskatchewanite as the victor. Jim (who helped hang my basketball hoop all those years ago) held on for a well earned victory.

So there we have it. Another Tournament in the books. Another GEMBC bracket challenge completed. The road to the Georgia Dome and the 2013 NCAA tournament started this morning.
Thanks for all of you who joined in. It's been great fun.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Final Four

My first year out of High School, I had an opportunity to go to school in England. I spent six months living and learning at Capernwray Hall. Capernwray is an international Bible School, so there were students from more than 20 countries around the world.

As you may or may not be aware, the English are not known for their delicious food, so in order to supplement our diet the Korean students set up a sort of black market. They began taking orders for noodles. There was a variety to choose from but the highest in demand were the Shin Ramyun noodles that came in a red package. Presumably the red packaging was meant to warn the victim that the contents were hot, which was good because it turns out that it is always cold and damp in an 18th century castle (this will come around to basketball soon, I promise).

Delivery day came and it was quite a site. Apparently college students, no matter where they are from in the world, like noodles. There were probably 60 boxes of noodles that were delivered each box containing two dozen bags of noodles. For the next two months we would come back from lunch and scarf down a bag of noodles just to tide us over.

When I got home, I went through a sort of noodle with drawl. My guess is that it was more to do with the drastic drop in sodium intake rather than the noodles themselves. But I did manage to track down the same noodles and made a tradition of eating them. For the first day of the NCAA Tournament, I would head over to Superstore and pick up two packages of Shin Ramyun and a box of grape Koolaid. Games start at 10:30 so I would prepare my noodles and pitcher of Koolaid and sit and watch basketball all day.

I kept up the tradition for a number of years but it fizzled out after a while (mostly because I don't think it would be right to plop down at the office and gorge myself on noodles and purple juice), but every once and a while, when Lindsay is away with the kids, I'll head over to Superstore and pick up the red package for a taste of the past.

I don't know what made me think of that...

Anyway, four rounds are now in the books and it has been an eventful week!

At the beginning of the week it looked like the favorites would be cruising through to the Final Four but in the end there were a few surprises. Of course Kentucky pulled through with wins over Indiana and Baylor, but the other perennial power house, North Carolina, stumbled into the elite eight and then made and exit from the tournament thanks to the Jayhawks.

Florida, who came into the tournament ranked 7th in the West, managed to blow by Marquette before losing to Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals. I'm not sure if you heard the announcers mention that Billy Donovan (Florida Head Coach) played for Providence College. In his first year as head Coach, Rick Pitino, led the Providence College Friars on an unexpected run to the Final Four.

Syracuse, who came into the tournament surrounded by scandal (google Fab Melo for full details). managed to pull themselves through the first three rounds before running into Ohio State. The Buckeyes, ranked #2 in the East, pulled away in the final 68 seconds, aided by going 13 for 14 from the free throw line, to move on to the Final Four.

As an aside, 13-14 from the free throw line in the final 68 seconds! 7 fouls in a little over a minute...I didn't watch it but that final minute probably took about 20 minutes to play!

Typically leading into the final weekend our finishing order is secure and our champion is decided. Typically, but not this year. The standing can change slightly with a chance for players to move up or down a spot or two, and the winner of the bracket is still up for grabs.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Down to 16

Who saw that coming?? Actually, I did...kind of. I was going for coffee with A buddy from work on Friday and we were chatting about the tournament and he was saying that there hadn't been any big upsets. Sure Wichita State loosing to VCU by the numbers was an upset but really you had to know that VCU was going to win that one. I remember saying that day one is typically quiet but day two should have some good upsets.

Little did I know that brackets would be ravaged by a phenomenon that hasn't occurred in the past 11 years, a 15 seed beat a 2 seed in the round of 64. And it didn't happen just once but twice on the same day!

My beloved Blue Devils (they're my team for three weeks at the end of March, the rest of the year I could care less) lost to Lehigh. Only Elaina was discerning enough to see the chinks in Dukes armor and put Lehigh through.

If that wasn't enough then Missouri went and lost to Norfolk State. Now I don't mean to continue to toot my own horn but I totally called that one! I would direct your attention to my e-mail dated Monday, March 12, 2012. where my closing remarks were, and I quote, "GO NORFOLK STATE!". Unfortunately I did not take my own advice and put Mizzou through the the Sweet 16.
The weekend saw mostly expected outcomes with the 4 top seeds all advancing. The only real surprise of the weekend came when Cincinnati continued to roll with the win over #3 Florida State.

So the Sweet 16 sets up like this
Kentucky v. Indiana
Baylor v. Xavier
Michigan State v. Louisville
Marquette v. Florida
Syracuse v. Wisconsin
Cincinnati v. Ohio State
North Carolina v. Ohio
NC State v. Kansas

The gap in the standings of our challenge has transformed into a chasm over this past weekend. Jim is leading the way with 34 points, Dan and myself are one back with Meghan and Pete one further back at 32. Jeff comes in at 31 points with Matt and Andrew nipping at his heels with 30 correct. Elaina riding on Lehighs coat tails sits tied with Sam and Jason at 28. Al and Dick remain in contention with 27 points.

We also had our first casualty of the bracket challenge. Once again Mark will be winning our Heart of a Champion award (I just made that up but I think it will be a staple going forward). This award is given to the individual who makes their picks with their heart, ignoring logic and reason no matter what. With A current total of 26 points and a maximum possible point total of 29, Mark has won the very prestigious award this year after sharing it selflessly with Kelly Last year.

Only three more days until games start up again.


Friday, March 16, 2012


March Madness Day 1

The NCAA Tournament is a wonderful spectacle of amateur sport. The athletes aren't playing for money, they're playing for the love of the game and the future prospect of money, a chance to turn the heads of NBA scouts to ensure for themselves a bright future. That may be a naive view seeing that most of those college kids are making more than me and are not taxed nearly as much as I am!

The one thing that I am realizing more and more as I get older is the the NCAA Tournament is not primarily a Collegiate sporting event, it is a business, and a very lucrative one. NCAA basketball brings in $757 Million annually through TV deals and marketing, the Championship Tournament and a few other services. It's star players don't (or aren't suppose to) receive a dime of that. Iknow, I know, they get their room, board and tuition paid for. True but they don't get cash money.

We get all caught up in why they play and sometimes forget who they are playing for. I was sitting down with a friend this morning (who happens to be a huge Gonzaga Bulldogs fan)and he told me a story about Brandon Chastain. Brandon, like Mark, is a huge fan of the Zags.

Brandon was first diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 3 years old. He beat it that time and the next time. This past fall he began his third, most difficult, battle and was encouraged by the friendship he had formed with the players from the little Jesuit school in Spokane.

The players were also encouraged by Brandon. His determination and tenacity, his never give up attitude. They were able to translate those lessons to the court. Yesterday morning, before their first round game against West Virginia, they were told that Brandon had passed away. They have dedicated their Tourney run this year to Brandon. That's who they play for.

That makes me want to cheer a lot louder for the Zags. on to the results (apparently no segue required).

We have 14 entrants this year and of those 9 have selected Kentucky as the winner (Mark chose the Zags over Notre Dame in the final so we'll see how that goes). Seeing that there have only been 16 games and only a handful of upsets the standings are pretty tight. Dan and I are sitting up top with a record of 14/16. Jeff, Mark, Meghan and Pete are one back at 13, with Andrew, Jim and Sam at 12. Sam, Wichita State...really? The spousal battle between Al and Elaina is still all tied up at 11. Rounding out the group are Matt, Jason (aka Principle Vernon), and Dick.
16 games down 47 to go.


Thursday, March 1, 2012


March Madness 2012

Several years ago now, I was convinced to take the day off of work to enjoy the basketball extravaganza that is opening day of the Tournament. It didn't take too much convincing...I told my wife that she deserved a day off from looking after our daughter and I would be more than happy to spend a vacation day to play with her. I seemed like a hero and the most caring husband in the world, when in fact I was just looking for an angle to get to watch the most basketball I possibly could. What was an even greater bonus was that Morgan was still in her multiple nap stage so she would nap from 9 to 11 and from 2 to 4.

The one pitfall to my masterful plan was I tried to take Morgs over to Steve's house after her nap to watch the early evening games without an abundant supply of goldfish crackers!

All that to say it is just about time to watch some more college hoops. And what fun is watching college hoops if you don't have a vested interest in the games. So it is with great anticipation that I announce the Third Annual Godfrey's Employment Memorial Bracket Challenge (more affectionately known as GEMBC). Free to enter, no prizes to be won, but the pride of knowing you're taking part in a great Canadian tradition much like the Stanley Cup Finals or Tobogganing.

In a little over a week, Selection Sunday will take place live on CBS. A couple of days later the play-in games (still can't call it the first round) will happen and come Thursday at 10am we begin a three week journey to madness. Start doing your research.

For those of you who had the joy of partaking in out nobel endeavor last year all you need to do is sign-in to your account and you will be able to make your picks (once the brackets are released Sunday, March 11).

For those of you not yet privy to our game, you have a little more work to do. You will need to follow this link and create a account. Once that is done you'll be prompted to enter the GEMBC password which is simply 2012.

That will take you to our group page where you will be able to make your selections.

For those of you who are less technologically adept, I will be sending out a printable bracket on Monday March 12 that you can print off, scan and e-mail back to me. If that is too much tech for you, you can hand deliver your bracket to me prior to the Play-in games and I'll look after them.

It's as easy as that. Sign-up, make your picks and enjoy the Tournament in all its splendor!