As I mentioned yesterday, today the attention turns towards the NCAA tournament which gets started in just a little while. I’ve filled out my bracket, doing so amid all of the jibber-jabber being put forth by the so-called “experts” performing so-called “analysis” on television and online while offering their predictions of what might happen.
So much noise. And so much of the time they speak of the future as if it were as knowable as the present or past.
I feel like I’m developing into something of a curmudgeon when it comes to sports talk, having somewhere along the line reached a personal tipping point as far as being able to endure the endless repetition of clichés, the unthinking estimations of “heart” and “having something to prove” and “the will to win,” and all of the other forms of amateur psychology being put forth so energetically by so many.
I’m a sports fan and perhaps even somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to applying what I’ve seen during decades’ worth of sports watching to theories about what might happen next. But I know I’m no expert, and I find it kind of amazing sometimes when I hear others opine in such obviously off-the-cuff, untutored ways about sports without the least hint of self-awareness that they might not know as much about their subject as they think they do.
I know I’ve made this point here before, but today I’m thinking again about how years of reporting on poker tournaments has necessarily taught me to be humble when it comes to my own knowledge and understanding of the game. The experience has also affected me somewhat when it comes to other areas, I think, including my watching of sports and how I evaluate players and teams.
Not to belabor the point too much, but just as there is often a lot that even the best players and thinkers can’t see or know or appreciate when watching a hand of poker play out, so, too, are there many unknowns or at least uncertainties when it comes to watching sports.
Yet it seems like more often than not those who offer to judge or comment on something like what might happen in the NCAA tournament speak as though there is nothing that cannot be comprehensively explained and understood. Or at least nothing that they cannot explain or understand.
Anyhow, my bracket is complete, having been filled out with an appropriate measure of humility regarding my own limitations. And as the games begin, I expect to experience a lot more humility going forward.