Nothing wrong with just being average

It probably wouldn’t be too difficult to take the easy way out this week. Surely if I looked just a little bit into past columns, I’d find one where all I did was complain about winter weather.

At least once a season I seem obligated to do that. Just to the left of where I’m sitting right now are a couple of three-ring binders with clippings of past columns. (No, I’m nowhere near organized enough to do that. Thankfully, my wife does the archiving.)

There are more than a few winter months worth of writings. If I just find one that complains about snow and ice and travel difficulties and wind and all-around yuck, then I’d just be a quick copy and paste away from being done for this week. It all applies. But, I’m not going to stoop to complaining about the weather, it just seems too easy.

It does have me in a bit of a lousy mood, though. I wouldn’t want to let it go to waste, so I’ll think of something else to complain about.

Busted again

I know. How about this? Five times! Five times I entered friendly competitions for filling out brackets of the just completed NCAA basketball tournament. But, no glory. No one shining moment for me.

The three-week, 67-game extravaganza was barely halfway finished when I already knew my brackets were toast. As each contest was being updated, I saw my name slipping further down the ranks.

The largest of the five contests I took part in perhaps best summarized my performance for this year. Of 49 entrants, I finished 27th. There were 26 people with a better score than mine; 22 were worse. I was 92 points behind the winner and 85 ahead of the last-place finisher. As I told the organizer of this group, I’ve never felt more average. And I’m a pretty average guy.

As if to back that up, I was in a much smaller group of seven in another contest. I finished fourth. Sounds pretty average to me. And no one in that group even picked the winner. No one had Louisville. So, I was average in a very average group.

One group even involved a small monetary reward for high finishers. (Can I say that in the paper?) It paid out five places. I was sixth. Wow, the best of the average ones, I guess.

One group was a new one to me and involved mostly people at work. I now have to go to work each day with them knowing that out of 11 people, I rank 10th. I feel bad for what the 11th guy might face. And in that group, I picked Kansas as my winner. I think I’ll stop doing that for a few years.

At least in a couple of my contests I did have Louisville picked. So I did actually finish second out of 23 in one contest. The one that was “for recreational purposes only.” (It couldn’t have been one of the money ones.)

Fortunately, there were still good games to watch, even if my forecasting skills were, well, average. And I was lucky enough to not be watching the game where the guy decided to give us all an up-close and personal look at a bone in his leg.

With bracket contests imploding all around me, the only thing left for this life-long Creighton fan to worry about was just how far rival Wichita State was going to go before they finally lost, or I lost my lunch, whichever came first. Nice little run for the Shockers, but I’m not sure I could have handled seeing them in the finals.

Oh well, only eight more months before the bowl game picking contests. Hopefully, I can get above average by then.

Bring back the fence

OK, one quick weather note before I go. Remember how I ended last week’s column? I was fearful storms were coming since crews took down snow fences in the neighborhood last week. Sure, there wasn’t enough snow to need a fence to control drifting, but I think I’ll blame them anyway. I just hope that we're all done now for a long time. Bring on summer!

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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