DOUGHERTY: Bracket contests bring their own memories

Filling out a bracket for both the NCAA basketball tournament has become a way of life in the middle of March, even for those who don't follow the college game until then.

Usually, the first four days are so full of upsets that even the novice "bracketologist" can appear to be in it for a while.

Brackets for both the men's tournament and women's tournament are a staple at our house. In fact, the group bracket we play on for the men's tournament is named in memory of a good friend, Bartian Jeff "the Gools" Goolsbey, with whom I worked for years in Wichita Falls.

He was born in Sacramento, Calif., but his parents moved back to Bartlesville when he was a baby. His only deficiency he acquired from his brief time in California was a love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tommy Lasorda. He was a Sooners fan through and through at the college level. Gools passed away in December 2010.

I acquired my interest in women's basketball bracketology from my friendship with Doug Brown, with whom I worked at the Wichita Falls newspaper and again at the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth. Doug drew up brackets on poster board for the women's tournament long before ESPN and others were creating them online.

He also introduced me to World Cup soccer (actually futbol, as he often reminded me). In fact he purchased a soccer ball for my son Patrick when he was 2 years old. Doug died of a heart attack in his recliner at the age of 45 in October 2002, so we call our ESPN women's bracket the Doug Brown Invitational.

Enjoy the upsets!

— Mike Dougherty, Editor