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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Second-guessing second-guessing

I dislike second-guessing. I dislike reflecting before decisions. I dislike not going with my gut. I blame it for many of my life's mistakes. Now? I'm not so sure.

See, come March, anyone paying any kind of attention to sports (bear with me, non-sports people, this has a non-sports related message) fills out brackets for the NCAA men's college basketball tournament. They usually enter it into an office pool with the hopes of winning decent amounts of money, but sometimes they don't have offices, like I don't. So I entered on ESPN.com. They allow five sets of predictions, which kind of defeats the purpose.

My first set of predictions were what I expected to actually happen. The second one was what I expected to happen if things went slightly differently. The rest were throwaways that I did with certain themes. They ended up wrong from the start. My first thoughts were wrong pretty quickly. But the second? My second guesses were almost perfect. In fact, of 2.8 millions entrants to the contest, I currently sit in a tie for 222nd, in the 100th percentile, with pretty good potential of moving up, though probably not quite enough to win.

My second guesses are better!? And not just better - amazingly, nearly perfect for half the games better. I need to try to remember my thought process for this in case I could win some money next year, certainly, but what if this holds true for the rest of my life? What if my vaunted "go-with-your-gut" philosophy is okay initially, but leads to disaster later on? What if I really need to think things through first, then go with my gut on the assumption that I'm already wrong?

(more importantly, what if Syracuse hadn't lost to Vermont? Then I'd be set. I could be the winner of, uh, whatever ESPN is offering the winner. New bracket rule: Never predict victory for a college named after one of the greatest military disasters in history. "Hi, my brackets are Stalingrad, Waterloo, Cannae, and the Syracuse expedition. Think I can win?")

Of course, the whole thing could have just been luck, and I shouldn't even adjust future bracket-filling style, let alone my life's philosophy. But where's the fun in that?
- Rowan Kaiser, 2:33 AM
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