Expat Musings Life & Love

Explaining March Madness to the Brits

Another Expat Moment Lost in Translation…

It never fails to amaze me when I get completely stuck when I attempt to explain an element of American culture.  (Remember last month and when I tried to explain President’s Day holiday?  Yeah, that was interesting.) This was especially true when I attempted to explain the excitement that is all things March Madness.

As many of you may know, I am a HUGE Gonzaga basketball fan.   I have cheered them on as fan since I was a freshman in college, so we have been in a relationship for over 12 years.  Yeah, it’s pretty serious.  Now this year, Gonzaga is kicking some sweet basketball ass and I am loving it even from the UK.  The Zags won the WCC Tournament last night, reclaiming the title and giving them an automatic ticket to the NCAA tournament as potentially a #1 seed. This would be amazing, and I would faint just a bit.

I Heart GU! Go Zags... (Photo Circa Feb 2010)

Go Zags… (Photo Circa Feb 2010)

Neal and I cheering on the Zags in Spokane during the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Neal and I cheering on the Zags in Spokane during the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

{Sidenote: I explained all about the NCAA tournament to Neal on our first “date” in November 2010, on a napkin at the local bar for Gonzaga Jack & Dan’s before heading to a GU game. He watches NCAA games during the weekend, asks questions about rulings, conferences and players… Neal is a fan of both college basketball and Gonzaga! He is such a keeper!!}

So, to infuse a bit of my excitement for what could be the best NCAA tournament in Gonzaga’s history (knock on wood), I wanted to introduce the concept of brackets to my British co-workers for a bit of friendly competition.

Here is how that went…

Me: So, guys I have this idea that I think could be fun.

Mark: Uh, okay.

Me: Well it is a very “American” thing to do. (They enjoy absorbing American culture.)

Paul: Go on then.

Me {Talking really fast, afraid of rejection}: In America, it’s a thing called March Madness. When there is a field of 64 teams and they play over the course of a few weeks and…

Paul: Is this a basketball thing? Like SpaceJam?

Me: Yeah.  It’s basketball, but SpaceJam is the NBA.  So you pick which team you think will win, we can all do brackets for a bit of fun.

Mark: Brackets?  What do you mean brackets?  Like parentheses?  That’s what brackets are called in the UK.

Me: {Slapping palm to forehead} I mean a tournament field, not parentheses.  (This conversation is going downhill fast.)

Paul: Oh, what about the Harlem Globetrotters?  Can I pick them?

Me: {Stunned silence}: Uh, no.  They aren’t really a team.

Paul: But they are the only team I know. How are they not real?

Me: They do tricks, not really play games.

Mark: Will you be pissed if we win when you know so much about the sport?

Me:  Yup.

Knowing that I would throw a piss fit if I lost, and allowing them to rub it in my face if they win, was enough to get them to commit to doing a NCAA bracket.  Yeah, I will let you know how that goes.  (We also included that the loser buys the next pint of milk for the office.  High stakes I know.)

 Just another day as an expat trying to explain and translate American culture to the Brits!






Today I am linking up with Lisette from Northern Belle Diaries and Catalyn from Confessions of a Northern Belle.  It’s a fun linkup, be sure to check it out!

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  • Thats hillarious! I love that you are trying to explain the tournament to those Brits! Can they explain soccer tournaments to me? You must be so proud of Gonzaga! I watched them play last night and was really impressed! They just play so well as a team. No individual player (ahem 2012 Kentucky) really dominates the team.

    • belinda

      Hi Lindsey!!

      I am oh-so proud of my beloved Zags! I am so bummed out that I can’t be there in the States to cheer them on. I love March Madness, it’s my favorite time of the year. Good luck to Kentucky (ahem, where are they ranked this year?) with their upcoming games! 🙂

      I will see if I can get an explanation of how soccer (football) works over here. I am still a bit stumped.

  • Way to go! I am not sure I have been to successful in explaining American sports to anyone!

    • belinda

      I am not sure if they were impressed or not, or even that excited. I am hoping to bring some of the fun here to the office though, fingers crossed. 🙂

  • Catalyn

    Haha this is hilarious!! Thanks for linking up with JB!

    • belinda

      Glad you got a good laugh out of this… I was shaking my head the whole time thinking how funny it this moment was!!

      Enjoy the rest of your week…

  • Shannon

    Belinda – I was laughing so hard that I was crying reading this post. Thank you so much for the great laughs; Barney enjoyed it as well. Good luck with your bracket!
    Go Zags! We have great dancing shoes on this year.

    • belinda

      Hi Shannon!! I am so glad you got a good laugh out of this. No kidding, this is pretty much how the conversation went word-for-word. We will see how the brackets stack up…. Too funny!

      Neal told me that if we make to the final game I can get my own dog and name it Harris. Fingers crossed!!

  • This was hilarious! SpaceJam, Harlem Globetrotters. I hit the floor! Thanks for linking up!

    • belinda

      Hi Lisette!

      It was such a funny conversation. I am always stunned when I try to explain something super “All American”… I am sure they are stumped when explaining British quirks to me. Enjoy the rest of your week.


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  • Haha I love this! Props to you for even attempting to explain March Madness. I found you through the giveaway and seems we have a lot in common, excited to explore your blog more!