Keeping track of your family brackets
At the beginning of our family bracket challenge, I printed out brackets for every family member. With the format of picking one round at a time, this required reprinting brackets after a round ends so the proper teams are filled in. Not fun. Now, we just use an online bracket and set everyone up under a group pool. You can find them on CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports, ESPN, and various other sports websites. The official online bracket of the NCAA can be found here
We’ use our family bracket challenge as a way to do something together as a family so our prizes have always reflected that. Our bracket winners always get to pick some portion of a local family adventure. For example, this year, the top 3 finishers in our bracket will get to do the following:
1st place chooses a local activity for our family to do together (examples include bowling, mini golf, going to the movies, trampoline park, zoo, museum, etc.)
2nd place chooses a local restaurant that we will visit as a family.
3rd place chooses a local spot for dessert to wrap up our family adventure.
When our kids were younger, we had to find ways for everyone to win so we would do 2 separate family adventure days, which provided choices for all 6 of us. Doing your bracket this way has the potential of being very expensive. As our kids have grown older, I am OK with some of them getting upset because they didn’t win. I was probably being too nice to our kids when they were younger. We will never go back to 6 winners. There are no participation trophies.
My wife and I created the bracket challenge shortly after we adopted our daughters as one way to bring us all together as a family for some fun. Not only does the challenge end with family time together exploring new places locally, but we also spent time together watching games and highlights, discussing our picks, trash talking each other, and sharing what prize we would choose if we win.
Our family bracket challenge is about more than just basketball and, as much as I love basketball, I wouldn’t have it any other way.