Born A Gambling Man

 This is the kind of bracket that will keep you from becoming a huge gambler. Also on display one of my bracket eccentricities - I do not cross out losers until the round happens.

This is the kind of bracket that will keep you from becoming a huge gambler. Also on display one of my bracket eccentricities - I do not cross out losers until the round happens.

(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 12)

I don't have many vices.

Anything I do that isn't necessarily in my best interests I do moderately.

Alcohol fits into that category...and so does gambling.

I don't even know that what I do falls into the category of gambling - someone who's a real gambler would look at me and laugh at what I do.

What is it that I do?

Glad you asked.

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First off I think I need to say that I'm lucky to not have a gambling problem. If you or someone you know does, please seek help. (This is a sincere PSA that I think is necessary to say as I'm about to write casually about something that could legit ruin someone's life.)

The thing is, I've always had a bit of an obsessive personality, where I dive deep on something I like.

And since I was young I've obsessed (see?) over things like point spreads.

I used to keep a notebook during football season where I kept track of my picks against the spread, and then when football season ended I continued with the NBA, and then some NHL and MLB games. (I was probably inspired to do this by the Mighty Quinn in the Daily News, but I picked all the games whereas he only picked a sure bet or two per day.)

I couldn't wait until I got old enough to actually bet on games and get rewarded for knowing so much about sports!

I've never had someone through whom I've placed bets nor, as you may remember, have I ever been to Vegas. I went the pool route. (Full disclosure: I've put season bets down in Vegas through Kathy, like "Mets to win the World Series", and this year had my first-ever game bet. We [I] bet the over on a college basketball game when she was in Vegas last month. We [I] lost.)

I've done spread/confidence pools in football season going on almost twenty years now. (And I had great success early on, which was probably the worst thing that could have happened to me.) I do a baseball survivor pool. I won big on an NFL Playoff/Fantasy team pool a few years ago. And that's pretty much it.

Which brings us to this year's NCAA Tournament: I decided to do a Survivor pool (pick one team to advance each day but you can't pick the same team twice) and a squares pool (you get a number for the final score of every game - no skill involves whatsoever).

I Survived one day - and the second day I picked Virginia - the first-ever #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament. (Of course that would happen the year I was invested in it.) The squares pool? I've won the final score three times so far in the tournament.

And here's what I know about myself as a gambler - I'll never do that squares pool again. I'll never have that kind of success again...it was unlikely I would have done this well this year. I just thought it was worth trying once.

But I'll give Survivor another whirl. I know too much about basketball to have it go that bad again, right?

Writing

*It's been a productive two weeks without my steady Wednesday through Friday gig. I'm back to that this week, plus I have a deadline for another piece for that Vietnam special section that I think I told you about a while back. Steady work - it's been good lately.

Comedy

*April is nigh! It's been way too quiet on the comedy front lately and I'm psyched to get back to performing. Lots of shows in April, including a couple in Portland, Maine. Details are at the Comedy Shows link above. This week I'm at The Burren on Wednesday night.

What I've Been Enjoying

*This is a bit of a local angle, but I always enjoy going to the Natick Outdoor Store in, yes, Natick, Massachusetts. This weekend we went to get a new glove and a new bat for two of the girls for softball. (The oldest's glove and the middle's bat will be passed down to the youngest, starting her first year....so we needed to replace those items with bigger versions.) I show great restraint whenever I'm there, because I could probably buy one of everything in the store. It's a throwback - the type of sporting goods store we grew up on before the rise of some place like Dick's or even Modell's. We first discovered it buying cleats for the girls for their short-lived soccer careers when they were very little...I hope it sticks around for when we need to get them stuff for high school or maybe beyond.

Notes

*I think we've gotten everything we can get out of "The Girl Who Recognized Kevin In Greensboro, North Carolina And Didn't Give A Care About Me" gag here in the Notes section. But that was a pretty good run.

*Today is the last Sunday without baseball for the next seven months or so. It's going to be great.

*I'm going to try to do some Mets reactions on Instagram Stories this year, and it's not going to be just me. I want the girls to get involved. I think it's going to be really entertaining, so you might want to check those out starting Wednesday or so.

*Did I maybe buy a bunch of Mets clothes this weekend (including the full-zip hooded sweatshirt I've wanted to find for years that is a popular item and I can never find) in anticipation of baseball season? Sure did. I did, after all, have some winnings from a successful NCAA Tournament run burning a hole in my pocket.

*I think I should mention I am nowhere near the expert I'd like to be picking games. I know enough to survive in NFL Survivor Pools a week or ten weeks...but those are always a crapshoot. I've never won one. I'll win the occasional spread week during NFL season. (Lately it's once every three years but I'll break out of that slump!) And I won that playoff pool a few years ago but haven't come close to winning since. And I'm still using those winnings for all my pool entries...and the occasional comedy festival fee. So I think that shows I have a pretty good handle on things. Anyone want to go to a casino?

*Last NCAA note: I didn't even pick Loyola-Chicago to beat Miami in the first round, but I sure am rooting for them the rest of the way. Fun story.

*So in addition to making sure you check out the Instagram in the coming days, you're going to want to follow me on Twitter @jsucich, that's been going pretty well. And, of course, I always love getting likes on the Facebook page - tell your friends!