Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

Bracket-holism: A horrible disease

Hello. My name is Ben H. And I am a recovering bracket-holic.\nI’d like to first thank those of you who brought cookies and punch to the meeting. Sign-ups for next week will be posted at the conclusion of our discussions.\nHere at Bracket-holics Anonymous, we provide a safe and healthy platform for people suffering from any form of the terrible disease that forces prolonged absences from family, unfathomable anger and a general disinterest in the day-to-day lives of college basketball fans.\nI guess I can start by telling you my story. I’m 22 years old, and I have been bracket-sober for more than six years now (met with soft clapping). I started getting urges during March Madness around the time I was 11 years old. I was able to enter my mom’s picks for her school’s tournament pool, and I wanted nothing more than to take home the loot for her while reigning supreme over a group of a 100 or so old people. I sat up at night, sweat rippling down my spine, as I created over and over again every single possibility of which teams would end in which slot before Selection Sunday.\nBut it wasn’t just in my spare time. During school, instead of listening to grammar lessons, I would hustle to fill out the 65 lines as fast as possible and as many times as I could throughout the day. My addiction was not far from the character Seth in “Superbad,” minus the phallic tendencies. At breakneck speed, I designed brackets with drawn-on team logos. I designed brackets with wavy lines. I filled out brackets in bubble letters. It absolutely consumed me.\nMy wardrobe in high school consisted of either cargo or jean shorts, assorted socks, underwear and three different shirts with past NCAA tournament brackets from years I won my respective pools. I walked around, shouting at anyone in the halls, challenging anyone who was man enough to challenge my bracketing skills.\nThen it all spiraled out \nof control.\nOne day in 1998, I got caught up in a war of words with a bigger guy who was so sure Ole Miss would make it to the Final Four as a No. 4 seed in the Midwest region. I assured him of its inevitable first-round demise against Valparaiso. But lo and behold, when the game ended and the Crusaders capped off the improbable upset, I walked by with my head down and said, “I guess someone better toss away their bracket!” It was then I was taken aside and shanked by the guy with a rusty piece of an old gym locker.\nMy bracket-holism has gotten me in trouble once again. \nFour surgeries and a skin graft later, I was back on my feet with a new perspective on life. I had to get my bracket-holism under control. Since I got out of the hospital in 2003, when the Ides of March roll, I bound my wrists together for an entire month in order to stop filling out brackets. At first there was nothing but tears. I slept at the foot of my parents’ bed and consumed food through a straw. My body went epileptic every time CBS showed its big bracket. It was a scary illness.\nBut now I refrain from the festivities. Self-control is the most effective way of dealing with bracket-holism. Every March, I come here and try to help other bracket-holics like yourselves cope with their problems.\nSee folks, everyone has their vices. For some, it’s the drink. Others, it’s drug use or lewd sexual conduct. But for me (sobbing) ... it has always been my need to fill out those ever-enchanting 65 lines of glory that gets me through the spring. And I need all the help I can get in recovering from this terrible disease scientifically called tournamentitis, but better known as bracket-holism (standing ovation).

Get stories like this in your inbox