EDITOR IAN STEPLETON’S daughter sits among some of the bracket “winners” she chose by mascot.       Mira Stepleton photo
EDITOR IAN STEPLETON’S daughter sits among some of the bracket “winners” she chose by mascot. Mira Stepleton photo

     THE STARS APPEARED aligned for No. 16-seed Gardner-Webb to upset No. 1 Virginia.

     Then reality stepped in last week Friday, and this Cinderella story never came to be.

     That came as a surprise to my daughter, whose bracket was upended with the 71-56 loss for the bulldogs. (Spoiler alert: She had Gardner-Webb in the championship game. Oops!)

     It wasn’t a surprise because she had great expectations to win a March Madness pool.

     No, she simply had no idea she’d filled out a bracket.

     At 2 years old, the last thing she’s worried about is bracket-busters.

     But choosing between puppies and horses? That’s her kind of fun.

     In fact, that’s exactly how she ended up filling out her first bracket.

     My first bracket, too, to be honest.

     I’ve never been a big college basketball guy; never felt the urge to fill out a bracket. But head-to-head mascot challenges with my daughter? That sounded like a good idea. ...

     My wife and I showed our eldest daughter mascots for each of the 32 first-round games, pitting one mascot against the other.

     All our daughter had to do was choose her favorite.

     Would she prefer Rodney the Ram from VCU or Knightro from UCF?

     Bully the Bulldog from Mississippi State or Sparky the Eagle from Liberty?

     Or, more importantly, Bucky the Badger over the Oregon Duck? ...

     To read the entire column, see the March 28, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.