Let's just get it out there right now: Madeline kicked my butt in the annual Team Sabo March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracketpalooza Sponsored By Huggies, Luv's And Assorted Store-Brand Cheaper Diapers That Have Containment Issues. Yes, it's a mouthful. But hopefully my shameless plug for diapers will get us some sponsorship dough in the years of bracket-picking that lie ahead. Anyway, at 7-years-old Madeline pretty much knows nothing about college basketball, but you'd never know it from her bracket-picking ability. She dominated me, to my eternal embarrassment. So, because I'm such a wonderful, loving father, I decided there's really only one way to handle this situation. (Editor's Note: Let me guess...take her to Burgerville for a congratulatory milkshake? Author's reply: Um, no. Keep reading.) I decided we needed to settle this on the soccer pitch. Madeline and Taylor (who was exhausted from his 24-hour trip home from Brazil) against me, Abram and Gabe in a 3-on-2 match in the back yard. First to five wins.
Somehow, Madeline and Taylor kept the match close. In fact, it was even up at 4-all before things were finally settled. Here's how it played out. I had Abram camp out in front of Taylor's and Madeline's goal and sent Gabe back to guard our goal. My job was to patrol the middle of the back yard and hopefully secure the ball and send it up to Abram where he could nail the winning shot. Miraculously, an opportunity presented itself. (Editor's note: Is this shortly after you grabbed Madeline's shirt so she couldn't get to the ball? Author's reply: My hand may have somehow inadvertently been tangled up with Madeline's uniform at some point in the match. That's my story. Was there a foul called? No. Editor's rebuttal: Weren't you the ref?) Back to the opportunity. I managed the deflect the ball as Taylor tried to "nutmeg" me -- a soccer term loosely translated as kicking the ball between my legs to make me look like a fool -- and in the scrum for possession of the ball I managed to boot it in the vicinity of Abram. Before Taylor could race off toward Abram, he somehow "tripped" and in the process I got tangled up with him then managed to successfully, er rather unfortunately, fall on top of him. To add to the unfortunate series of events, I was unable to quickly get up and allow Taylor to pursue Abram. This prevented Taylor from getting anywhere near Abram, in addition to causing him great pain from feeling the weight of my muscular build toppling upon him. (Editor's note: Muscular? Is this non-fiction you're writing or have we entered the realm of fiction? Author's reply: I don't need to dignify that remark with a comment.) Well, to end the suspense, Abram drilled the winning goal. Victory. Sweet victory.