Warren Buffet, don’t put your checkbook away just yet.
A group backed by Buffet that put up $1 billion to anyone who picked a perfect NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket breathed a collective sigh of relief just 25 games into March Madness when Memphis beat George Washington — which led The Associated Press to report that no perfect prognostication sheets remained.
But the contest, offered by Quicken Loans, got a shock last week when an overlooked bracket — turned in by an unidentified Bladen County man, no less — was discovered stuck underneath another bracket and remained perfect to date.
While representatives with Quicken Loans requested anonymity for the lone perfect picker, the Bladen Journal has learned that the individual is a local basketball coach.
“All of them (the brackets) are busted up pretty bad,” said East Bladen girls varsity coach Patty Evers. “But I still have a chance to win in two of them.”
“I managed to get 24 right in the first round, but the second round really hurt me,” said East Bladen varsity boys basketball coach Ken Cross. “And I picked Duke to win too many rounds. But my main teams are still left.”
“(My bracket) is not perfect at all,” said West Bladen boys varsity basketball coach Travis Pait. “But my final four is still intact.”
“Dayton and Harvard were surprises,” said West Bladen varsity girls coach Pam Stephens. “But I still have all of my final four — Florida, Louisville, Virginia and Baylor — alive.”
So, is it really necessary now to say April Fool’s?
Pranks have changed
Pranks on this day of mischief have evolved over the years. Where such things as salt in a sugar bowl, “kick me” signs, plastic over a toilet bowl and chocolate-covered pearl onions may still have a place, other pranks have become far more elaborate.
Dan Reynolds of White recalls a specific prank that took place several years ago.
“My wife and I have always had fun trying to one-up each other when April Fool’s Day rolled around,” he said. “And even though we both knew something was coming, we usually masked it pretty well.”
Reynolds said that, when he used to live in Florida, his wife talked a good friend of theirs who owned a car dealership into helping her with a prank.
“She got him to tow my car in the middle of the night and replace it with one that looked exactly like it,” Reynolds explained. “Of course, it was all locked up and I couldn’t get in it the next morning.
“Luckily, she didn’t make me sweat too long and our friend brought my car back,” he said. “I’m still thinking about my revenge for that one.”
Jokes? What jokes?
While April Fool’s Day is the day for mischief-making and practical jokes, a random check with folks around the county revealed that … well, many of you simply won’t own up to your antics or own up to falling victim to someone else’s mischief.
While there have been whispered rumors of merry making around the county, questions asked by the Journal were answered with a swift, “No comment” or “I better not talk about that.”
Maybe some folks are even so good at covering their tracks, that the hapless victim or victims simply don’t know who among their friends and co-workers to suspect OR the prankster would prefer to remain anonymous so as to avoid reprisals in the future.
Whatever the case, we feel sure the pranks will abound throughout the day. Enjoy.