Wednesday, May 14, 2014
After weeks of anticipation for you all I am sure, the final installment for 2014 from our March Madness MC. Hoop stars, I’m sure by now everyone is thinking that I pocketed the money in hopes that no one would call me out, well…. I got called out, thanks Rodell. Truthfully though, I haven’t forgotten about you fine people, and I’m proud to say that the lucky winners have their well-earned green on the way. It was a wild final four to say the least, and I’m more than happy, for just one shining moment, to harken back to the days of college basketball… oh, how I miss it. As most of you know already, number 1 overall seed Florida tanked on final four Saturday, losing to 7 seed UConn, a team of unmatched destiny, and as a result put the nail in the coffin of CannonVA tourney challenge 2k14, essentially handing the title to John and Will. Yet, Jennifer and Josh still had a shot if Wisconsin was able to beat an upstart Kentucky team who looked equally as destined to reach the final game. The Badgers came just 1 point shy of their first championship berth since 1941, as deja-vu struck the Kentucky wildcats. With just 5.7 seconds to go and Wisconsin up 73-71, Aaron Harrison spotted up from the left wing and drilled a 3 pointer to crush the badger dreams and with it the green dreams of Jennifer and Josh. It was the third game winner in a row for Kentucky and nearly the exact same scenario of the final seconds in Kentuckys elite 8 win over Michigan, unreal. It couldn’t possibly ring true 1 more time… We found out Saturday night who the winners would be, it was John and Will tied for 1st place and Mike holding on to 3rd. The only question going into championship Monday was who would win the tiebreaker and take home the top prize of $180. It was up to the final score, a final score which was wildly over guessed by the bulk of the pool, as defense showed it’s prominence with all on the line. UConn inevitably continued their dream tournament in glorious fashion, out-playing Kentucky in virtually all aspects, and relying on the unmatched dominance of gutty senior and unanimous all-tourney selection Shabazz Napier. The huskies found a way to get it done, beating the scrappy bluegrass squad 60-54, becoming the first #7 seed to win college basketballs most coveted hardware. We would find out 1 day later that the Husky women would make it a sweep for the second time in the last 10 years. It’s good to be a UConn fan. And so, we can officially crown the winners of CannonVA tourney challenge 2k14. Will and John as champions and Mike in a very heated battle for 3rd place. Congrats to the three of you. The tiebreak was almost a draw as Will’s final number came to 141 and Johns final number, 144. With the final score adding to 114, Will was able to edge out John by just 3 points, and with that scores the healthy margin of cash. I’d like to give a major shout out to Andrew, who’s final score projection, was, far and away, the closest at 58-52, well done AB, if only you had a few more points to your name. See below for final standings, for those of you tied, I used your final scores to determine pecking order, and, more importantly bragging rights. Thanks to all for joining in on the fun this year, it brings me great pride knowing the overwhelming interest in the best tourney challenge of the greater northeast. And thanks also for putting up with my endless novel updates. I do hope that they were enjoyable. Until next year, keep dreamin’ of those 40s…. Sorry, skeeball reference, but equally applicable to all arenas of life. Oh, and speaking of 40s, I’m still out $40. Without naming names, I’m sure you can figure out who you are, below. Thanks again! March madness MC, out! 1. Will D 87 pts $180 (final score 71-70) 2. John F 87 pts $120 (final score 76-68) 3. Mike Z 83 pts $70 4. Molly B 82 pts 5. Jennifer B 80 pts 6. Brent A 78 pts 7. Josh W 77 pts 8. Erik M 77 pts 9. Greg T 77 pts 10. Chad B 76 pts 11. Beth R 76 pts 12. Barbara A 75 pts 13. Carrie P 75 pts 14. Brian W 75 pts 15. Peter M 73 pts 16. Scott D 72 pts 17. Rodell P #2 72 pts 18. Andrew B 70 pts 19. Ashley D 70 pts 20. Preston T 68 pts 21. Rebecca F 68 pts 22. Kelly M 68 pts 23. Scott T 68 pts 24. Greg K 64 pts 25. Chris H 64 pts 26. Matt T 61 pts 27. Ryan M 60 pts 28. Rodell P #1 60 pts 29. Katie T 60 pts 30. Kristal E 60 pts 31. Ed A 58 pts 32. Justin T 57 pts 33. Lindsay M 55 pts 34. Abby M 53 pts 35. Bob F 53 pts 36. David P 48 pts 37. Deborah M 45 pts
Posted by Jen at 12:33 PM
Monday, March 31, 2014
Hoop stars, Well, the regional finals over the weekend happened to narrow the field of contenders considerably, and today was known bracket wide as massacre Monday. I even received requests for flowers to be sent for the funeral services of a few brackets that crumbled in historic fashion. With Arizona, Michigan, and Michigan State all losing, the majority of dreams were crushed, especially with that Michigan State loss. Brian Wolf was sitting pretty after the round of 16, in first place and his champion intact. Come Monday, he finds himself in 14th position with no points left to be had. With the fall of Wolf, we now find ourselves back in familiar territory with Forgy and Will retaking at tie for first place. Unfortunately for those two, there are no points left to be had. The door is open for those with Florida and Wisconsin advancing. Saturday started off as expected, with overall #1 seed Florida taking care of the overmatched Cinderella squad from Dayton Ohio, 62-52, punching the first ticket to North Texas. The second game, however, was one for the ages. Top seed Arizona took on 2 seed Wisconsin in what would turn out to be a battle for the ages. Each team trading blow for blow deep into the second half. But much of the game, it became apparent that the Cats simply had no answer for the 7’-0” Badger center Frank Kaminsky, who aside from looking like he drools (the profound words of our defending champ Rodell), went absolutely bananas on a shellshocked Arizona squad, scoring 28 points, including 3-5 from beyond the arc. Yes…. Big boy can even hit the triple! Wisconsin won in an overtime thriller, 64-63. Had it not been for Kaminsky, Arizona would have surely advanced, heroic performance. Sunday proved even more exciting as we were treated to two marquee matchups, Michigan State vs. UConn and Michigan vs. Kentucky. Two critical games that would inevitably determine the fate of many pool goers. Michigan State took the floor first as the final four favorite out of the east region, and for most of the game proved worthy of the third slot in texas next weekend. But something odd happened to the Spartans. A historically well coached team that doesn’t often make mistakes, started making them, in epic fashion. Turnovers, lazy play, missed free throws, stagnant defense. For UConn fans, this was a highly unlikely dream that came so gloriously true and set the stage brilliantly for the baby face assassin known only as Shabazz. The kid, once again delivered and sent the much maligned and gravely under rated UConn Huskies to the final four. In the Midwest we were treated to yet another Kentucky moment, as the 8 seeded wildcats, yet again, came from behind to pull a shocker, this time over 2 seed Michigan. The Wolverines dominated most of the game, with Big 10 player of the year Nik Stauskaus raining in 24 points, en route to a 13 point advantage. Kentucky battled back though, quite valiantly, and with the game tied at 72 with just under 10 seconds left, we were staring another regional final OT game square in the face…. Until that supremely ill-advised, masterfully defended, fall away three pointer by freshman guard Aaron Harrison, found the bottom of the net. Game, set, match. Aside from last years championship loss, Michigan fans haven’t felt this much pain since the timeout heard round the world, Chris Webber, 1993 title game. And so we’re down to four, Florida, Wisconsin, UConn and Kentucky. No one was able to pick more than two correct final four teams, but two, somehow, someway were able to keep their championship game unblemished, those two are Jennifer and Josh, both with Florida beating Wisconsin, both with significant chances at scoring some cash. I’ve played out each of the 8 scenarios with the top 3 finishers below. It’s now just a 8 person race with John, Will, Mike, Jennifer, Josh, Erik, Greg T, and Brent battling for three spots. See below for scenarios and final four standings, those in red have locked in their final point totals. Best of luck to those still in the running! 1. John F (87 pts) 2. Will D (87 pts) 3. Mike Z (83 pts) 4. Molly B (82 pts) 5. Jennifer B (80 pts) 6. Brent A (78 pts) 7. Josh W (77 pts) 8. Erik M (77 pts) 9. Greg T (77 pts) 10. Chad B (76 pts) 11. Beth R (76 pts) 12. Barbara A (75 pts) 13. Carrie P (75 pts) 14. Brian W (75 pts) 15. Peter M (73 pts) 16. Scott D (72 pts) 17. Rodell P #2 (72 pts) 18. Andrew B (70 pts) 19. Ashley D (70 pts) 20. Kelly M (68 pts) 21. Preston T (68 pts) 22. Rebecca F (68 pts) 23. Scott T (67 pts) 24. Greg K (64 pts) 25. Chris H (64 pts) 26. Matt T (61 pts) 27. Ryan M (60 pts) 28. Rodell P #1 (60 pts) 29. Katie T (60 pts) 30. Kristal E (60 pts) 31. Ed A (58 pts) 32. Justin T (57 pts) 33. Lindsay M (55 pts) 34. Bob F (53 pts) 35. Abby M (53 pts) 36. David P (48 pts) 37. Deborah M (45 pts) Scenario 1&2 Kentucky over UConn OR UConn over Kentucky 1. John F (tiebreak) 2. Will D (tiebreak) 3. Mike Z Scenario 3 & 4 Florida over Wisconsin OR Wisconsin over Florida 1. Jennifer B 2. Josh W 3. Mike Z Scenario 5 & 6 UConn over Wisconsin OR Wisconsin over UConn 1. Jennifer B 2. Josh W 3. John F / Will D (tiebreak) Scenario 7 Florida over Kentucky 1. Mike Z 2. Jennifer B 3. Josh W / Erik M / Greg T (tiebreak) Scenario 8 Kentucky over Florida 1. Mike Z 2. Jennifer B 3. Brent A Chad (March Madness MC)
Posted by Jen at 9:30 PM
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Hoop junkies, After a wild Friday night of basketball, the elite 8 is officially set, Michigan, UConn, Michigan State, and Kentucky joined Florida, Dayton, Arizona, and Wisconsin in the elitist of groups within just 1 victory of a final four berth. The night was definitely not for the faint of heart. We saw Michigan and UConn advance in the early games over Tennessee and Iowa State respectively. UConn continued its surprise run by handling a depleted Iowa State squad playing for the second game without star center Georges Niang. The huskies, behind a virtual lock for 1st team all-tourney, Shabazz Napier, continually bullied the oversized Cyclones. While Iowa State made a late rally, they were unable to hit free throws down the stretch and the 7 seed from the east advanced to the regional final. Props to Rebecca and Greg T for being the only ones to have the Huskies dancing to the elite 8. In the other early game, Michigan squeaked by 11 seed Tennessee by the narrowest of margins, 73-71, leaving big blue fans on the edge of their seats to the bitter end. The Wolverines enjoyed as much as a 15 point lead well into the second half, before the Vols made a furious rally to cut the lead down to a single possession late. However, it must have been the stroke of midnight because the orange glass slipper shattered as Tennessee left the floor wondering what could have been. Michigan advanced to its second straight elite 8 appearance and was poised for the prospective rematch of last years title game with Louisville. Only thing standing in the way of that destiny were the upstart 8 seed Kentucky wildcats… The dream matchup between bitter interstate rivals Kentucky and Louisville was realized almost out of fate. It’s as if the basketball Gods willed this epic rivalry into being when the stakes were highest. The hype didn’t disappoint. The first half was solid, as both teams exchanged blow for blow, with the defending champs taking a 3 point lead to the locker room. But the second half, my friends, left little to be desired, it simply had it all, pressure threes, tenacious dunks, gutty steals, it was a battle for the ages, true gladiator stuff. For those who were lucky enough to stay awake into the wee hours (Ed…. cough), it was a treat to say the least. With Louisville seemingly in control of the game, up 7 points with just over 4 minutes left, it was gut check time for Caliparis blue grass squad, and the wildcats delivered, in impressive fashion. Kentucky ended the game on a 15-3 run, squashing all dreams of a repeat for the Cardinals of Louisville, who lead the game for all but 65 seconds, wow. And so the 8 seed from the Midwest dances on to face 2 seed Michigan on Sunday for a shot at the final four. Congrats to Mike Z, Rodell #2, and Justin for accurately selecting the cats to the elite 8. For most though, the Louisville loss dealt a crushing blow especially, current 3rd placer Will and battling for the basement Abby who had the cards winning it all. The final game pitted final four favorite Michigan State against 1 seed Virginia in the east bracket. This game, just like Kentucky / Louisville did not disappoint. The Spartans controlled the game for most of the first half, leading by 4 at the break. Virginia came out strong in the second half and pushed the Spartans blow for blow down the stretch. However, in this game, the victory was clinched, not blown, from the free throw line. If you’re going to win a championship, you must make the easiest shot on the court. Michigan State did just that down the stretch and was able to squeak by a crafty UVA squad, who most definitely overachieved this season. And so we move on to regional finals today and tomorrow, with the final four to be set Sunday night at the conclusion of the Kentucky / Michigan game, tip 5:05 EST. See below for updated standings. Brian has taken the lead with 8 points last night, however he had Louisville in the championship game, so it’s still anyones game. The 5 of you highlighted below are the elite few who have your final four still intact, specific teams adjacent, incredible job. That means, these 5 have the most points still available. Those of you in red…. Well, that’s it. For Lindsay and Deborah, they have officially exhausted all resources, their brackets are done, RIP, funeral services to be scheduled, no further points to be had. For Deborah, she’s clinched at least a share for last place, impressive none the less. Bob may just owe her lunch, for saving his sports practice leadership, he still needs either Florida or Michigan State to win to alleviate himself of a tie for last. Curl that mustache for good luck Bob. Florida and Dayton tip tonight at 6:09 EST, just 4 hours from now. Good luck to everyone still in the running. We’ll have a clearer view of whos legitimately in the running coming Monday morning. Here’s to continuing the madness! Savor every last second, it’s gone all too soon… 1. Brian W (75 pts) 2. John F (71 pts) 3. Will D (71 pts) 4. Erik M (69 pts) 5. Chad B (68 pts) 6. Beth R (68 pts) 7. Mike Z (67 pts) Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, Kentucky 8. Molly B (66 pts) 9. Jennifer B (64 pts) 10. Rodell P #2 (64 pts) 11. Scott D (64 pts) 12. Ashley D (62 pts) Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, Michigan 13. Brent A (62 pts) Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan 14. Andrew B (62 pts) 15. Josh W (61 pts) 16. Greg T (61 pts) 17. Matt T (61 pts) 18. Kelly M (60 pts) Florida, Arizona, Michigan State, Michigan 19. Rebecca F (60 pts) 20. Rodell P #1 (60 pts) 21. Preston T (60 pts) 22. Kristal E (60 pts) 23. Barbara A (59 pts) Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan 24. Carrie P (59 pts) 25. Scott T (59 pts) 26. Peter M (57 pts) 27. Justin T (57 pts) 28. Chris H (56 pts) 29. Greg K (56 pts) 30. Lindsay M (55 pts) 31. Ryan M (52 pts) 32. Katie T (52 pts) 33. Ed A (50 pts) 34. David P (48 pts) 35. Bob F (45 pts) 36. Abby M (45 pts) 37. Deborah M (45 pts)
Posted by Jen at 10:08 PM
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Hoopsters, Last night we whittled the field of 16 down to 12. The first team to clinch an elite 8 spot was those surprising flyers of Dayton who handled 10 seed Stanford with relative east 82-72, proving that speed and quickness can beat size if you have the shooters and ability to finish at the rim. Now the pride of Dayton Ohio is just 1 win away from a final four appearance. Lindsay M must be beaming with hometown pride at the moment, even if she picked her alma mater over the fliers in round 1. Although Dayton will get a tough test on Saturday as they face #1 overall seed Florida. If the Cinderella somehow finds a way to keep dancing, all hell will break loose, as brackets will burst worldwide. The Florida win over UCLA was just another breath of fresh air for most, but our defending champion Rodell, must be stewing over his boneheaded decision to take the Bruins to the championship game, might just seal his fate. On the other side of the bracket, in the west, we saw Wisconsin crush an overmatched and overachieving Baylor squad 69-52, as the Badgers gave the Bears a little taste of what Baylor did to Creighton last weekend. All but 7 had Wisconsin in the elite 8. It was a tough pill to swallow for Bickell, who was the only one to have Baylor advancing. Had the Bears found a way to win, the one they call “tickle” would have made a huge jump up the standings. And then there was Arizona who did right by the majority of our pool, with the exception of those very few who said that surely….. surely Oklahoma State would beat the cats… What could have been. The 1 seed in the west got by a scrappy San Diego State squad who pushed them hard into the final minutes. For Forgy, who had SDSU winning, it was a tough loss, because now we have a 3 way tie for first place with John, Will, and Brian. The top 18 are only separated by 12 points, a lot of shuffling still to be seen. Tonight, 4 more games before we round out the elite 8. Tip of Tennessee vs. Michigan is set for 7:15. Let the beautiful madness continue!! Best of luck to all. See below for updated standings. 1. John F (67 pts) 2. Will D (67 pts) 3. Brian W (67 pts) 4. Chad B (64 pts) 5. Beth R (64 pts) 6. Molly B (62 pts) 7. Erik M (61 pts) 8. Josh W (61 pts) 9. Scott D (60 pts) 10. Mike Z (59 pts) 11. Scott T (59 pts) 12. Greg T (57 pts) 13. Matt T (57 pts) 14. Jennifer B (56 pts) 15. Rebecca F (56 pts) 16. Preston T (56 pts) 17. Chris H (56 pts) 18. Carrie P (55 pts) 19. Ashley D (54 pts) 20. Brent A (54 pts) 21. Andrew B (54 pts) 22. Peter M (53 pts) 23. Kelly M (52 pts) 24. Rodell P #1 (52 pts) 25. Greg K (52 pts) 26. Rodell P #2 (52 pts) 27. Katie T (52 pts) 28. Kristal E (52 pts) 29. Barbara A (51 pts) 30. Lindsay M (51 pts) 31. Justin T (49 pts) 32. Ryan M (48 pts) 33. David P (48 pts) 34. Ed A (46 pts) 35. Abby M (45 pts) 36. Deborah M (45 pts) 37. Bob F (41 pts) Chad (March Madness MC)
Posted by Jen at 12:54 PM
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Hoop stars, First of all, I want fess up and personally apologize to Brian Wolf, whom I left off the second round rankings. Must have been his intimidating bracket that made me subconsciously misplace it. Not to worry, all is right now, although he has passed by most of the field with his 13 bonus points from 4 upset picks. As we gear up for the sweet sixteen, set to tip in less than 24 hours!, there is need to, once again, catch up with the 3rd round happenings. While we saw 7 low seed upsets in the second round, the third round exhibited much greater big name carnage, as Syracuse, Kansas, Villanova, and # 1 seed Wichita State went down in shocking fashion. Although, Wichita State was matched up with a Kentucky team that began the season ranked #1 in the nation. I can appreciate the intellect of this year’s pool as 12 of you correctly picked the Wildcats to advance, well done. Others were not so lucky, like Beth who was livin’ the dream and sittin pretty Friday night, but come Sunday, her dreams may have been dashed with Wichita State as her champion. Or “what about Bob”, who also had the shockers winning it all. Notorious for his outlandish picks over the years, the mustache made much more reasonable selections this year, yet somehow finds himself battling for the basement. And then Lindsay, oh boy…. Also a believer in Wichita State, she now finds her bracket nearly finished, only able to score a maximum of 12 points out of a remaining possible 96, ouch. Villanova came into the tourney as a bit of head scratcher. Most felt the cats weren’t too deserving of a 2 seed, and UConn quickly confirmed the hesitation as Shabazz Napier went bananas on a seemingly overmatched Villanova squad. That “upset “ didn’t hurt few in the pool, as most had the cats out well before the final four, except for 1 drowsy mountain man, who must have slept through the early tourney analysis. Thacker rolled the dice on Nova, and paid mightily. Picking them to win it all was a long shot, now I’m just hoping to get that $10 before he falls asleep again. Congrats though to Greg K, Greg T, Rebecca, Molly, Jennifer, and myself for accurately advancing UConn.. And so the sweet sixteen is set, including 3 double digits seeds: #10 Stanford who slayed a shaky Jayhawks squad, #11 Dayton who may just be playing the best basketball of the tourney so far, and #11 Tennessee, who has yet to be tested, crushing both opponents en route to a match up with 2 seed Michigan. Props to Andrew, Brian and yours truly for having Tennessee still alive, and major props to the Longhorn himself, Preston for being the ONLY one to have Dayton flying in the sweet sixteen. It’s still anyones game, as all but 11 have still their championship game intact. Most teams still alive goes to Will D and Brian W for having 12 of 16, incredible job! And, it seems we must be family because the only perfect regional brackets left are Jennifer and myself, accurately navigating the east bracket. Biggest drop of round three was Bob, who fell a staggering 26 slots. Not even the mustache could save that freefall. Biggest rise was Greg K who moved up 9 slots, although, the Wichita State final four could hamper his chances. See below for up to date rankings. Bring on the madness! 1. John F (59 pts) 2. Chad B (56 pts) 3. Will D (55 pts) 4. Brian W (55 pts) 5. Preston T (52 pts) 6. Beth R (52 pts) 7. Mike Z (51 pts) 8. Molly B (50 pts) 9. Erik M (49 pts) 10. Greg T (49 pts) 11. Josh W (49 pts) 12. Matt T (49 pts) 13. Rodell P #1 (48 pts) 14. Jennifer B (48 pts) 15. Rodell P #2 (48 pts) 16. Scott D (48 pts) 17. Scott T (47 pts) 18. Lindsay M (47 pts) 19. Andrew B (46 pts) 20. Deborah M (45 pts) 21. Rebecca F (44 pts) 22. Greg K (44 pts) 23. Chris H (44 pts) 24. Kristal E (44 pts) 25. Carrie P (43 pts) 26. Ashley D (42 pts) 27. Brent A (42 pts) 28. Peter M (41 pts) 29. Kelly M (40 pts) 30. Katie T (40 pts) 31. Barbara A (39 pts) 32. Ed A (38 pts) 33. Abby M (37 pts) 34. Justin T (37 pts) 35. Bob F (37 pts) 36. Ryan M (36 pts) 37. David P (36 pts) Chad (March Madness MC)
Posted by Jen at 9:41 AM
Hoop fans, Apologies for keeping everyone in the dark until now, no excuses, you all deserve better. Since we’re now a full 3 rounds into the madness, there’s quite a bit of catching up to do, not to mention unveiling the most important details, the CD VA tourney challenge standings. Stay tuned for a 3rd round update, but for now, I’ve got to give props to those who dominated the 2nd round on Thursday and Friday, the two most glorious days of the year. We saw a total of 7 upsets with double digits seeds advancing: (10) Stanford, (11) Dayton, (11) Tennessee, (12) Harvard, (12) North Dakota State, (12) SF Austin, and the most shocking of all (14) seed Mercer knocking out (3) seed Duke, adding to the extensive list of disappointing first round exits of the infamous blue devils. While many in the pool correctly picked Dayton, Harvard, North Dakota State, even SF Austin, only 1 was able to summon the basketball Gods and roll the dice on Mercer, that one was Beth, who was able to utilize the 5 bonus points to catapult her into second place after round 2. Incredible job, without a doubt THE pick of the second round. While most brackets are still very much alive, the first two days proved crushing to a select few including Deborah who picked VCU and Duke to the final four with VCU winning the whole thing, ouch! And yours truly, who, despite my better judgment picked my beloved and beleaguered Cowboys to reach the final four. Picking with the heart can prove demoralizing, especially when OK State has NEVER beaten those white boys from Washington, unreal. I will say, that I appreciate the sentiment from those who went out on a limb to pick against Gonzaga, including fellow alums Ashley, Jennifer, and Carrie. The only consolation is that they went on to get stoned by number 1 Arizona last night. But, I might just take an 8 point loss over that gut wrenching, last minute 2 point loss, the favored Buckeyes of Ohio State had to endure, after what looked like a sure victory was in hand. I feel your pain Lindsay and Andrew. All in all, bad weekend for the OSU’s. At least Preston got to savor the second rounds only buzzer beater, as his Longhorns downed Arizona State on a last second tip in. Unfortunately, the horns ran into Michigan two days later. Surprisingly, that monumental Duke collapse, was but a small ripple in this years tourney challenge, as only 3 picked the devils to the final four, Deborah, Katie, and Ed. However, the weekend games proved much more disastrous, but that’s for another email, sit tight. The champion of the second round was the Flea Flicker himself, John Forgy, guy went absolute nuts, picking 5 of the 7 upsets correct, missing only Mercer and Stanford, unreal. Also, props to those who had perfect regional brackets. Jennifer, Scott T, Josh, Will and myself correctly picked all 8 matchups in the East. Molly, Deborah, Beth, Mike Z, and Rodell nabbed a clean slate in the West, but most impressively Preston, by some divine force beyond himself, picked a perfect South region, including all 3 upsets in that bracket: SF Austin, Dayton and Stanford. Well done PT, well done. See below for standings. Note, these are not current standings, just after two rounds of play. 3rd round update as well as compiled and scored PDF bracket to come later this evening. I’m sure everyone is eager to see just how they stack up against the competition. Sadly, we have to wait 3 more days for more basketball. Until then, keep the madness alive!! Second Round Standings: 1. John F (39 pts) 2. Beth R (38 pts) 3. Chad B (34 pts) 4. Lindsay M (33 pts) 5. Preston T (32 pts) 6. Matt T (31 pts) 7. Will D (31 pts) 8. Molly B (30 pts) 9. Bob F (29 pts) 10. Mike Z (29 pts) 11. Greg T (29 pts) 12. Deborah M (29 pts) 13. Rodell P #1 (28 pts) 14. Rodell P #2 (28 pts) 15. Katie T (28 pts) 16. Erik M (27 pts) 17. Josh W (27 pts) 18. Scott T (27 pts) 19. Kristal E (26 pts) 20. Jennifer B (26 pts) 21. Chris H (26 pts) 22. Brent A (26 pts) 23. Andrew B (26 pts) 24. Scott D (26 pts) 25. Peter M (25 pts) 26. Rebecca F (24 pts) 27. Ed A (24 pts) 28. Carrie P (23 pts) 29. Barbara A (23 pts) 30. Abby (23 pts) 31. Greg K (22 pts) 32. Ashley D (22 pts) 33. Justin T (21 pts) 34. Kelly M (20 pts) 35. David P (20 pts) 36. Ryan M (20 pts) Chad (March Madness MC)
Posted by Jen at 9:24 AM
As the madness of March & the NCAA tourney is unwary I am handing the controls of my blog over to my brother for his yearly basketball commentary. I will be posting Chad's ever entertaining March Madness play-by-play emails here. I must confess I am a couple of days behind, but none the less I hope you enjoy! Hoops junkies, Thank you all for joining the #1 rated NCAA tourney challenge of the greater northeast. It gives me great pride to announce a new participation high at 36! This means our pot will be $360. Anyone who wants to donate another 999,999,640, we’ll have an even billion dollar bracket! Further, I’d be happy to lower the stakes, you do not have to have a perfect bracket to win. Just let me know… Until we land that money, we’ll go ahead and stick to the $360 to be divvied up to the top three finishers. We’ve already seen two upsets today with the Buckeyes goin’ down to 11 seed Dayton and Cincinnati falling to 12 seed Harvard. Tough… TOUGH day at the Meyer household, I’ve gotta say, in fact tough day for the entire underpants state. Good thing Dayton was able to shine on Ohio a bit. Congrats to John Forgy and Brian Wolf for being the only ones to correctly pick both upsets, notching a total of 7 points in the process, well done. Although, Harvard happened to be a sexy pick as 12 made that selection. Spoiler alert for those who picked the #1 overall seed to win it all…. Florida happens to be on the ropes against Albany, tied midway through the second half. Stay tuned… Again, thanks for joining, and happy watching / streaming. Don’t let work get in the way too much. PRIORITIES people! This magical time comes just once a year. Enjoy the madness! Go Pokes! Chad (March Madness MC)
Posted by Jen at 9:22 AM
Monday, March 10, 2014
My mom turned a year older this year, shocking I know; and as fate may have it my brother and I had something up our sleeves to make this birthday one to remember. In our family, birthdays are a big deal, and we tend to go all out on the one day a year when it is all about the birthday girl or guy. From time to time my brother and I get a wild hair and like to surprise our parents with fun out of the box gifts for their birthdays. This past Christmas Chad and I were unable to travel back to Oregon to spend time with our parents for the holiday. Something happened when we joined the workforce, this thing called responsibility seemed to take hold of our lives and we simply don’t have the opportunities to take time to visit family during the holiday season like we use to. That being said, talk about surprising mom for her birthday came up in December when I realized my work obligations would not allow me the time to fly home for Christmas. I may have been the one that caused the talks to start due to my busy schedule, but my brother….he was the mastermind behind the surprise. After much coordination, discussions with my father, internet searches, many DC to Denver phone calls, plans were set. We were going to fly to Oregon the evening on February 27th Chad and I were going to stay in Portland for the evening, we were going to drive to Lincoln City, get there early (this piece of information is critical to the story), and meet mom and dad at a pre-selected restaurant on the 28th. The plans nearly came to fruition until I was taken on guided architecture tour of Downtown Portland by my architect brother Chad and his girlfriend Ashley who also happens to be an architect. The morning was beautiful, which in February is hard to come by in Portland so our tour ended up taking slightly longer than anticipated resulting in a less than planned late departure. This late departure may not seem like a huge deal to most, however when you have a father who happens to run a tight ship and is typically always prompt, a father who if by the grace of God has his phone on, will never answer it, and a father who when things do not go exactly as planned tends to have difficulty improvising. All of these elements proved to be a huge hurdle when trying to problem solve how to notify daddy that our caravan was running behind schedule so it was essential he stall or he was going to arrive with the birthday girl at said restaurant before we do. I tried to call his cell phone and as anticipated it went immediately to voicemail. I knew we had two choices, 1) we could keep all our toes and fingers crossed for the remainder of the drive, and well that was not going to be comfortable, hoping and praying that we beat them to the coast or 2) I could call mother and figure out a reason in which I needed to talk to dad, in a state in which it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving I guessed mom would ask if she could just relay a message to him. As our caravan saw it, it was a lose lose situation, so I threw caution to the wind and dialed my mother’s cell. It rang……Hello? I thought crap now what do I do, here is the exchange that took place. J: Hey what are you up to? M: Well dad is driving me somewhere. J: Where is daddy driving you? M: I don’t know. J: Well that sounds fun! M: How is the weather there? J: Partly cloudy, we are supposed to get snow tomorrow. M: I think it is supposed to rain here this weekend. As I was making headway the call dropped so I did what I would do any other time a call drops, I called her back M: Sorry we are going through a bad area for cell usage. J: That is okay. J: Can I talk to the man in charge; I would like to know what he has planned for you. M: He is driving, but I can hold the phone up to his ear. J: Great thanks (while thinking to myself……holding the phone up to his ear, I am going to have to be super cryptic incase she can hear me) D: Hello? J: Hi daddy, what are you guys up to? D: Driving mom to Lincoln City. J: That sounds fun. J: How is your day going? D: Good! (my daddy is a man of very few words) J: My day is going well also, I just seem to be running behind in everything I try to do today. D: Me to. D: Well I am driving so I am going to put your mom back on. J: Okay love you daddy! D: Love you. M: Hello? J: So I guess you heard you are going to Lincoln City! J: That will be fun! M: It will be a fun weekend. J: Well I better let you go; I will talk to you tonight. M: Okay, love you! J: Love you. I hung up the phone and received a round of applause from my caravan, Ashley follow-up with ‘well played……partly cloudy’. I felt as though we dodged a bullet and was still confident we were in disguise and mother didn’t catch on. The rest of our drive to the coast was beautiful; in true Jennifer form I embarrassed myself on many different occasions, but as a result kept the car laughing. We talked about how I missed my calling to work for the CIA, any of you who know me, know I did not in fact miss my calling. We talked about Ashley’s deep desire to move to Oregon (I have a little secret; she doesn’t like the rain...the things that make you go ummmm). It was a truly delightful drive and as we neared Lincoln City the anticipation grew. The restaurant we chose to meet at was tucked away a bit and our caravan driver missed the turn, as we drove up the road to turn around I spotted mom and dad….see these eagle eyes of mine, confirmed to everyone in the car that in fact the CIA will be calling to employee me soon. Mom and dad were turning around in the same parking lot we were so the chase began and we followed mother and daddy to the restaurant, we pulled up right beside them. Once the car was in park and when I say once I mean .0000078546 seconds after the car was put in park I jumped out and said “what are you guys doing here?”. I wish I could have taken a picture of my mother’s face, I don’t think she knew what was going on, what to say, or what to even think…..it was priceless. After our hellos, hugs, and smiles we headed inside for an over the top yummy coastal cuisine.
Posted by Jen at 5:00 PM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
National Eating Disorder Awareness week has passed and my last post is trailing a few days behind. My brother and I took a quick trip to Oregon to surprise my mother for her birthday and as a result I chose to go computerless as much as possible. The story of the surprise trip will be posted later in the week. So as I close this past week packed full of emotions, hard memories, and good memories I find peace. As I sit back and reflect on what has been my life, what currently is my life, and what I hope the rest of my life to be, I realize I would not want to change any ugly detail. I don’t have a single regret, if it were not for my life’s journey in its entirety I would not be the woman I am today. I have been asked more times that I count “how is it that you can push through the desire to go back to where you were”? I can’t sit here and tell you it is easy, but I can tell you that the life I have now is so far greater than any life I could dream of having while in the relentless grasp of Anorexia. I live a life void of ‘should haves’, ‘would haves’, could haves’ and now live my life in the moment. I realized that when writing the story of my life, I didn’t want anyone or anything else to hold the pen. I didn’t want my life or legacy to be defined by Anorexia; I wanted my life to be defined by strength, determination, and perseverance. It is within the power of every one of us to change what we don’t like, to change what is not healthy, and to refuse to use the phrase “I can’t”. I was amazing the amount of times I heard “I can’t” while I was in treatment, it was never a matter of ability it was a principle of attitude.
Posted by Jen at 3:42 PM
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Support is an amazing thing which can help make anything look and feel better. Spanx….help to support me in my business suites, books…..help to support my expanding knowledge base, heels….help to support my will to be taller, and friends and family…..support in a way that make the difficult bearable, the excitement extraordinary, and the impossible possible. I can’t imagine any journey, especially the one I have shared with you over the past few days without the love and support from my friends and family.
Posted by Jen at 2:28 PM
Thursday, February 27, 2014
With anything in life, we as humans tend to have preconceived ideas of what something, someone, or someplace should look like, feel like or be like. Embarking on the unknown and at the time, very scary path of treatment, I had a million and one preconceived ideas of what this treatment thing was going to be. I thought ‘I am not going to fit in’, ‘I am not sick enough to be in a treatment center’, ‘everyone is going to wonder why someone as fat as me was in a place for skinny people’. All of these thoughts plus so many more swarmed around in my mind manifesting my fear into a paralyzing state. The one tricky thing about Anorexic’s is we don’t realize how sick we really are until it is too late. I knew the doctors were telling me my organs were shutting down, I was fully aware that I passed out in the middle of a busy street in Tulsa while I was running, I was aware the ambulance had to be called in to assist me during a track workout (I blamed both times I passed out on the hot summer temperatures), I heard my therapist when she told me she didn’t think I was going to be able to kick this preoccupation with food and exercise on my own, I was smart enough to comprehend insurance and that insurance companies would not pay for just anyone to enter a treatment center. Yet, I still was unable to realize that I had an illness serious enough for me utilize a resource for help. After all I strived daily for perfection, I could do anything I set my mind to, I wore a cape under my day clothes and when things got hard I pushed harder and made it happen. When my mother and I arrived in Denver the reality of the situation became very clear and with clarity came anger. I was never one to express my emotions well; in fact the only emotion I could express well was happiness and let’s be clear, I was as far from happy as one could get. So when the time came for my mother to leave me at the Eating Recovery Center (ERC), similar to a mother leaving a toddler at daycare for the first time, I believe I said something along the line of “if you leave me here then don’t expect to have a daughter anymore” or something like that. I actually have no recollection of this statement or much memory of the last couple of months leading up to treatment. When we don’t feed our bodies….brace yourself for this epic announcement….our minds are not fed either. Being my brain was not working at it highest capacity when I went into treatment I have had to rely on my mother and her memory to shared with me some of the things I said to her as she left me kicking and screaming, and to be honest I am surprised she still wanted to be mother when I got out. As my journey started at ERC the mountain in front seemed far too great to climb. Everything that I thought I loved in my life was taken away and everything that was uncomfortable was brought to the forefront. Yet over the course of three months the unhealthy life I had lived for years was becoming a distant memory and I surprisingly found myself embracing the new lease on life I had been given. I will be honest, treatment was not fun but it led me to a life that I can now enjoy, it introduced to me to some extraordinary people who grew to be called friends and I looked up to daily for their strength, resilience, and grace. I often times sat in admiration of the fellow ERC patients who surrounded me, the group was so diverse yet so similar. Each person was beyond incredible; I was convinced world peace could be a reality if the heads, hearts, and hands of these extraordinary people worked together. The IQs were off the charts and I was blown away by how inwardly and outwardly stunning every patient was. Those million and one preconceived thoughts….very few were actually accurate.
Posted by Jen at 5:39 PM
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sometimes it is the most unexpected events which change the trajectory of our life’s journey in an unanticipated way. Two years ago, my life as I knew it changed suddenly when my mother showed up on my doorstep, packed up my apartment, put all my belongings into storage and loaded me up in the car. Yes, I was 32 years old, yet I had no strength to fight my mother regarding her will to drive me 700 miles from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Denver, Colorado. You see, my mother’s will to save my life was greater than my will to lose it. I had been battling an eating disorder for 15 years, visited therapist after therapist and finally in the summer of 2011, I hit 100 lbs and rock bottom. My mother, in collaboration with my therapist at the time, staged an intervention and my life as I knew it was no more. Everything was arranged for me to arrive at an inpatient facility in Denver on October 18, 2011. The few months following proved to be both the hardest and best months of my life. All of my control was taken away; I was exposed, vulnerable, and for the first time, forced to face my hurts, my pains, and my fears. I grew, I changed, I ate, I talked, I cried, I lived! It continues to be a daily journey to remember to eat, to want to eat, to not use food, or the lack of food, to escape my problems. Nonetheless, the all-encompassing journey has led me here today.
Posted by Jen at 1:55 PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Eating disorders are very complex in nature according to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) they “arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors”. There has been a plethora of research done on the complexities of eating disorders yet there is still so much learning to be done. The propensity of eating disorders is become so prevalent that it is very likely that everybody knows somebody inflicted by disordered eating. 30 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. Anorexia nervosa (significantly reduced appetite or complete aversion to eating), bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by overcompensation for the behavior by over-exercising and purging), binge eating (uncontrollable eating), and ‘other specified feeding or eating disorder’ are all spokes off of the eating disorder wheel. Although I can pinpoint the exact trigger that led to my 15 years of darkness, there were many factors that perpetuated the cycle of destruction in my life. My journey started as I stood in line for the school bus during my freshman year in high school; a male classmate of mine made a comment to me about my size and that is all that needed to occur to send me into a tailspin. I already had very low self-esteem and was surrounded by women in my family who engaged in disordered eating, so when Chris made his comment to me it was the last straw. Individuals suffering from disordered eating typically are great at hiding their behaviors, yet there are warning signs that can be spotted if you fear a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder. Here is a small list for Anorexia….dramatic weight loss, preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, dieting, and exercise, refusal to eat certain foods, withdrawal from usual friends and activities. Bulimia….unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area, calluses on the back of hands and knuckles, discoloration or staining of teeth, withdrawal from usual friends and activities, excessive exercise. For both Anorexia and Bulimia in general, behaviors and attitudes are focused completely around weight loss, dieting, control over food, and exercise.
Posted by Jen at 10:36 PM
When I was younger I remember hearing about awareness days, weeks, and months. Never did they really resonate to me and I guess a lot of that was due in part to not being effect personally by any of the illnesses that were brought to the forefront during these different times. However as I got older I found myself taking note of Breast Cancer awareness month, after losing my grandmother to the disease, Brain Tumor Action week after losing my cousin to Brain Cancer at the age of 6. Furthermore National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, as a person who has recovered from anorexia, this is a personally significant week for me, after battling the relentlessness of Anorexia for over 15 years. I am going to spend this week sharing a snap shot of my journey, signs and symptoms to the diseases, and support you can provide if you fear a loved one is within the tight grasp of an eating disorder.
Posted by Jen at 12:25 PM
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I am sure you all have been waiting on the edge of your seat to know whether or not sprinkles were showered down on me or if I continued to experience a day that resulted in an earlier than normal bedtime. I am happy to report that my day which started out less than ideal did a 180 degree turnaround as I was stepping out of the office door last week; my work world as I knew it would be no more. After weeks of being in a position of growth, emotionally and mentally I was told on this less than ideal day that I was going to be starting in a new role, not in two weeks, not next week, but the following morning. Although talks of this change had been buzzing for nearly the same amount of time in which I resided in the position of growth, the reality of the talks coming to fusion were almost too much for me. I was over the moon, I was ecstatic, I was nearly in tears. Not only was this new role going to provide an opportunity to learn, to grow as a professional, to be challenged mentally, and also to interface with leaders within the organization; it was also going to provide the opportunity to work with an incredibly amazing team. As I face this new journey with a pep in my step and a huge smile in heart I am reminded of the following quote;
Posted by Jen at 6:30 PM
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
We here in Colorado have had a great snow year, and you would know this to be true in that I didn’t purchase a ski pass for the first time since moving to Colorado. After the sorry excuse of a ski season last year I chose to save the dough and the knees and go ski pass free this year…..for those of you enjoying the great powder this year, you are welcome. All this to say, when there is a great ski year in the mountains there typically are a few flakes seen down here in Denver. We have experienced a few flakes plus a couple buckets more. The reasons I love Colorado are endless, but the reason most associated with this post is the snow and winters; that we don’t tend to have blistering cold like I am use to from Oklahoma. That changed this past week when we had snow, lots of it, and cold. That kind of cold that makes you want to stay in bed, curled up in a fetal position, and refusing to even let a toe sneak out from under the covers. So you can understand my complete discontent when my alarm went off at 4am and I had to somehow muster the mental strength to get out of bed. Let’s be honest, I have to muster up mental strength everyday when my alarm goes off, 4am is not a normal hour for anyone on this great planet to be awake much less out of bed. There are many mornings my mind is as sharp as a spoon, however this particular morning my mind was as sharp as water. I often find myself frustrated when my watery mind does not give me any indication that it is not going to function at any level of competency. As I slugged around the house trying to get ready and then out the door to the bus I was void of any brain waves. I am not sure if it was the bitter cold or the fact my mind finally decided to join the land of the living but as I made my regular morning trek to the bus I stopped dead in my tracks and realized I not only forgot my lunch at home, but I also forgot my wallet at my boyfriends place. It was far too late to turn back, I foolishly left no room for mental error this particular morning….I had a bus to catch. It was while I was thinking about what a bear I was going to be turning into come lunch time that I found myself falling to the ground. I guess in my intense contraction on food or lack thereof that was my belly was going to see during the day I hit a spot of ice and my feet went out from under me. I lay on the ground looking up at the falling snow seriously considering turning around and just going back to bed. But I heard Charles Spurgeon say ‘by perseverance the snail reached the ark’. So I pulled myself by the boot straps and continued on my journey. Nearing the bus station I reached in my pocked to check the time and noticed my cell phone was missing. Did it fall out of my pocket during the fall and I didn’t notice, I thought to myself. So I turned around and back tracked my almost 3 block walk from fall to bus station. No phone anywhere to be found, I was hoping it was on the counter with my aging lunch. By this point I had mentally prepared myself for seeing the red tail lights of the bus as I approach the station. To my surprise all of my bus buddies were still standing there in the blistering cold waiting. I, honestly by the grace of God made it, but not without perseverance. With three strikes against me before 5:45am I was hopeful the remainder of the day would rain sprinkles on me. Sprinkles were exactly what I received. To be continued………..
Posted by Jen at 8:17 PM
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I promised a play by play of a recent adventure that ranks among the top of most Epic of public humiliations. Let me set the stage for you…I had been home from the office for 2 days after being diagnosed with pneumonia. I found myself getting a touch of cabin fever so I felt I was safe to travel out into the land of the living. When I say safe, what I guess I really mean is that I had been on antibiotics for 2 days so I was not contagious. Wait, can pneumonia even be spread from one human to another? If it can then I was safe from a medical perspective, either way my feet posed to be a huge danger and anyone around was at risk. The adventure started out like any other typical outing, I pulled up at the store front, got out of the car, locked it and headed inside. I was on a mission to find an accent table for my living room. You see I have gone 10 years of living on my own without any tables in my living room. This always seems to pose a problem when guests are over and they want to place their beverages somewhere other than the floor. The lack of furniture is not due to a lack of hunting for that perfect piece, I have been on this mission for a few years now. I am not sure if this shortage of essential items in my home is due to the fact I am educated in interior design and I don’t want something in my home that does not fit perfectly or if I am just so picky that something more or less must jump out in front of me before I am sold on the item and feel it would be a great addition to my living space. Now might be a good time to let you know that I went 6 months without furniture when I moved into my first place after college. I slept on a blow up mattress and I sat on an exercise ball to read in the evening. Which for the record was not too bad, I never had those days when I felt like being lazy and staying in bed for a bit longer than normal, and I had killer abs being when I got tired of reading I just busted out a few crunches. Nonetheless I felt it imperative to my social life that I invest in at least something to sit on in my living room. There seems to be a golden thread through this post….my living room is a torn to my interior design side. Back to the humiliation at hand…as I was looking through all the accent tables at said store I found a table that I thought would be a perfect fit. Could it be so….have I FINALLY, after a long arduous journey, found a piece of furniture I thought would not only fit, but be a perfect fit for my living room? I was in slight disbelief that this could actually be happening to me, I looked over that table with a fine tooth comb. I was certain there was going to be scratch, a broken drawer, something. After very little time spent, I found the scratch that knocked the table out of contention and realized it was not meant to be. But I really liked the piece so I asked if there were any others in the back. Can you believe it, there was, and it was all wrapped up prudy in a box, which to me meant scratch free. A sales associate helped me to the front of the store so I could purchase this awesome, rustic, perfect table. The transaction was made and off to the car the sales associate and I went. I took my boyfriends SUV to the store with the knowledge that if I found something it was not going to fit into my car. As fate may have it, the table was not fitting into his car either. The back seats needed to be folded down if we were going to have any success in getting this table home. Isn’t it said that those ‘things worth having takes a lot of effort, time, diligence, and patients’…or something like that? I was trying to fold down the sets and was not having success so a phone call ensued. Help was provided and the need for more space was a reality. After folding down the backseat on the driver’s side I navigated to other side of the car to fold down the remainder of the row. Success was had, the table now fit, and as I was hanging up I met face to face the asphalt of the parking lot. That silly cart that had brought my table to the car somehow sprouted legs and moved itself right in my path. I didn’t notice this before finding myself on the ground, scraped up, bruised, all the items from my pockets strewn out everywhere, and my pride…it dies right then and there. I went home and have not left since.
Posted by Jen at 6:56 PM
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Is there any way to turn back time? You see I had this new year's resolution to start blogging daily or at least weekly again, like I did during those days when I guess I didn't have a life. Yet in my defense I am fully convinced I went to bed on Dec. 31st and I woke up on Feb. 1 which I suppose is fine if my dreams were anything close to what reality would have been had I not been asleep for an entire month. In my dreams my job was eliminated 2 weeks before Christmas, I was offered to stay on with the company in the capacity that I knew from the word go was not going to be a great fit for me, I got a sinus infection that turned into pneumonia, I was a grouch, I had a moment of utter public humiliation (a blog post for a different day). Now that I think about it.....phew I sure am glad I slept through all of that! Since I slept the whole month of January, then really to be fair to everyone my new year's resolution is still good....right?
Posted by Jen at 8:26 PM