Mar 28

The Thrill of Victory

2006 at 12:15 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre

My little brother Chad may have recently merged onto the highway to manhood, but he’s still my little brother. Actually, he’s a bona fide, card-carrying member of the little brother’s club. He’s earned badges for mercilessly teasing his sister, imitating Mom’s voice on the telephone, and refusing to obey any command I give him. Then he’ll do something sweet, and wrap me back around his little finger again. He’s good.

Predictably, when March Madness comes to town, Chad loves to tell me why my picks stink and my bracket is sure to tank. He started in this year as usual. “I can’t believe you picked Davidson!” and “You know Mason isn’t going to make it past the first round.”

But now, everything has changed. For I picked George Mason to make it to the sweet sixteen. What’s more, their campus is only a mile from our house! Instead of being the unathletic, sports-ignorant big sister, I’m suddenly living at the epicenter of the NCAA tournament. Literally. Our walls were shaking Sunday night from the fire works at the George Mason campus. My sister-in-law is a nursing student there. I even buy groceries at the “University Mall” Giant. I’ve probably been at the salad bar with Coach Larranaga and not even known it!

After Mason won their first game, I immediately called Chad to gloat. In typical little brother fashion, he pretended not to care and told me why they wouldn’t go any further. When Mason advanced again, he reluctantly admitted he’d been wrong. But in the true spirit of sportsmanship, he called me after Sunday’s fantastic win over Connecticut to congratulate me. That’s how Dad taught us to lose, with humility.

So, this post doesn’t really have a point except to hold it over my little brother who is losing in the family pool (and blaming his poor picks on some ESPN sports announcer). It’s probably the only chance I’ll ever get, so I’m taking it. And I’ll be rooting for George Mason on Saturday. Because a victory for Mason isn’t just a victory for the home team, it’s a victory for me, and for mercilessly teased big sisters everywhere.

(Love ya, Chad!)