Millions of Americans will gamble this week on the NCAA Basketball Tournament, most of them filling out one of those ubiquitous brackets for $5, $10 or $20.
Others will get involved in bigger-stakes contests and/or bet hundreds or thousands of dollars legally in Las Vegas or illegally with a bookie.
And that’s a problem – or potentially on its way to being one.
It reminds me of when I was a young news reporter, taking home maybe $150 a week and somehow – stupidly – betting $100 a weekend on college and pro football through a friend who had a bookie.
About a month into this, two friends and I decided to load up $600 on the underdog New Orleans Saints in a Monday night game to cover the spread against the Oakland Raiders. That’s a lot of money now and a Big Damn Easy amount of cash back then.
The first mistake was betting on the Saints – perennial losers back then.
The second was betting against the Raiders – perennial winners back then.
But the biggest error was just betting that kind money in the first place.
The Saints were up by 21 points and lost, and didn’t cover.
At the time, I was in shock. But it was a good lesson to learn, because since then I’ve never bet more than $25 on anything.
It’s all a cautionary fail for those sucked in by the thrill of gambling this week.
Bet only the amount you are comfortable losing. Because all of us will lose – if not this time, then eventually.
RANDOM SHOTS AND SECOND THOUGHTS
As we contemplate why and how the heck March turned into February:
-- Pretty sure that in five years Amazon is going to own everything in America not named Google or Facebook.
-- New to my bucket list: Operate one of those T-shirt guns during a minor league baseball or college basketball game.
-- Obscure thing that I remember from accounting class in college is the LIFO method of inventory valuation. LIFO is an acronym for last in, first out, and, amazingly, decades later LIFO still has real-world applications for me when I attend a meeting or go to Mass.
-- Perhaps this is too harsh or it’s just a bad month, but I’ve decided that my autobiography is going to be titled “Dealing With Doughnuts – My Life Story.”