Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Each year during March, the NCAA Men's basketball tournament takes over our house. We print out brackets, we pick our winners and we cheer on our favorite teams. We also come up with a prize the winner is awarded for picking the most number of wins. This can be anything from the winner's favorite dinner, getting to stay up later on a school night or cold hard cash.


This is something everyone in the house enjoys. Last year our youngest son took home the honors with the most wins picked. It's been many years since I've won, but I still enjoy the process of picking my teams, having a shared fun (and free) activity, not to mention the joy (or sadness) of checking my bracket at the end of each game day. It really only hurts when two of my Final Four teams bite the dust in the first round. Ouch!


This is a tradition we continue even when my husband is at sea or far from home.


One year while the boat was at sea, I actually placed in the March Madness tournament bracket when competing with the Sailors on the husband's boat! Awesome Baby!


This year I'm not doing so good since I'm currently in last place, but I'm still holding out hope for at least the "big win".

If you are not into this year's tournament, I have good news!


It's not to late to take part in the fun! The Sweet 16 has been set and games begin again March 22nd and 23rd. You can still print out your bracket and pick your favorites. It's fun and easy! You can help your kids pick out their teams and if your loved one is far from home, if email is an option, send him the teams and include him in the fun.


Keeping up traditions helps create a little predictability in our unpredictable military lives. It can be comforting knowing no matter we are in the country or the world, we ALWAYS do "certain things" and in March, we participate in March Madness!!


So, as you put your pen to your bracket and begin to pick your teams for the remainder of the tournament, I have just two words.


Rock chalk