Break Out Your Brackets

Published in the February 2018 Issue August 2019 Feature Brady L. Kay

I realize I’m a little early on this, but until the snow thaws and the ice melts off the Great Lakes, I have no choice but to turn my attention to one of the greatest months for college basketball fans. It’s called March Madness for a reason and it all starts next month with our bracket predictions for the NCAA basketball tournament. It’s really the only time of year when die-hard fanatics who are truly addicted to college basketball and casual observers who haven’t sat through a complete game since last March, can come together and genuinely have an interest in the outcome of the tournament.

One of the biggest reasons it’s so popular is you don’t need to be an expert to win your office bracket pool. It never fails: it seems like the little old lady in accounting always wins our office pool, while the so-called experts over-think their brackets to the point where they’re lucky to finish somewhere in the middle between the UPS delivery guy and your boss’s wife. Just thinking about this tourney has me excited as I fully plan on redeeming myself after my poor showing last year. Yep, I’m the over-thinking type for sure.

While the NCAA tournament gets all of the attention, there is another type of competition that is going on every weekend this time of year and it’s unofficially known as the Boat Buyer’s Tournament. If potential buyers would take the bracket approach to buying a boat this year as they’re working the spring boat shows, they could really save some time while making the experience that much better.

For example, you have your number one seeds who are the obvious and easy choice. These are the manufacturers who have been in business for decades who are staples in this industry and have reputable dealers on the Great Lakes. It’s easy to make these your frontrunners because they’re like those schools that always seem to have a top 10 team, no matter the year.

Following the bracket example you have your list of others and if you’re truly trying to rank each one then at some point you’ll come to that eight-seed versus nine-seed matchup when it’s basically a coin flip on which boat would be better for you. The reason it could go either way is because often these are the manufacturers or the specific models that you’re not nearly as familiar with. They’re like those smaller schools that sneak into the tournament each year that you’ve never heard of and couldn’t find on a map if your life depended on it.

This is where you’ll want to watch out for that 12-seed upset pick that happens over a 5-seed every year in the NCAA tournament. Maybe it’s a quality dealer or the location of the dealership that could swing the upset and have a lesser known boat model making your “Sweet 16” that, prior to the boat show, you wouldn’t have thought possible.

As you break down those amenities with your significant other and determine which options are simply wants versus those that are truly must-haves, you’re able to reach the “Elite Eight” on your way to your “Final Four” picks.

Now this is where the real excitement comes in where you’ll need to factor in everything on the specific models at the top of your list from the size, standards and options to the price, dealer location and quality of craftsmanship. Maybe this is where you were dead set on a specific manufacturer, but your top-seeded local dealer doesn’t have any more slips available at the marina, causing another boat to sneak its way into your championship.  

Let the madness begin! What could be better than watching your favorite team cut down the nets this year? How about launching your new boat, knowing without a doubt that it was the best choice for you and your family after surviving your Boat Buyer’s Tournament?


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