[update: Keith and Shannon started a pool HERE]
I am retiring from the basketball pool.
That’s right, I am breaking up with you.
It’s not you. It’s me. You’re great. And someday you’ll find another person to host your pool, and he will be the luckiest guy ever. But I gotta get on with my life.
Why? Let’s start with a top 11 list. That seems like the sort of thing I’d do:
- I live in Texas and thus I don’t have reliable power, which is a basic necessity for running a pool.
- JK, I could totally do it. But while you are needing me the most, I will be going to Cancun…so I can be a good dad.
- I got COVID and lost the basic senses of taste, smell and humor. Without a sense of humor, how can I do the pool?
- It occurred to me that I don’t need to run a pool just to have an excuse to talk about how stupid Keegan is or what a jerkwad Martin Buniva is. I can pick up the phone and call them and tell them any time.
- Actually it isn’t me typing this retirement letter. It is a “false flag” operation by ANTIFA. They have disguised themselves as me and they are the REAL ONES TO BLAME!
- My therapist told me I am a narcissist, and this pool is an enabler.
- The voices in my head told me to kill the boy. And to quit the pool.
- My computer was destroyed by Jewish Space Lasers.
- I ran out of jokes.
- I wouldn’t be able to hand the very real possibility of Texas getting bounced in the first round and Baylor winning the whole thing.
- I decided to go out like a boss. Drop the mic. All that stuff.
But I am seriously retired. I enjoyed it, but after a third of a century it is time for me to do something else. It’s been a lot of joy and tears and everything in between. These days it’s about once a year I get the note with an envelope telling me “our check is for one less entry this year. I’m sad to tell you that one of your long time pool entrants passed away this last year”. About 50 times a year, I get an email telling me how much fun my pool is. Again, there is joy and there is sadness, and everything in between.
Some of the most memorable moments are the 2003 Horns in the Final Four, the 2008 Horns v Memphis Regional Final, the Butler vs Duke championship game, the Villanova vs UNC Championship game, a kid named God Shamgod and another named Kevin Pitsnoggle, the quote contest that was 40 songs from each of the 40 years I had been alive, my sister winning last place, my son winning fourth place, and getting dozens of roses from Robert Dies. My least favorite moment was a gut punch from LSU in the Elite Eight.
A final thought for those who get all their life coaching from me. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, watch it. No series starts out more un-watchable but completely redeems itself quite like Ted Lasso. In Episode 8 over a game of darts, there is a great scene where Ted tells a story that revolves around a quote (“Be curious, not judgmental.”) You’d have to watch all 8 episodes leading up to the quote to fully appreciate the context and understand, but if you don’t watch it, just know that life is better if we ask each other questions and try to get to know each other. I wonder how many conflicts could be resolved or lessened if everyone tried harder to understand each other.
(That and a quarter won’t buy you anything at Starbucks.)
I love you all. Take care.