The Sentinel’s “Best Things to Do During Quarantine Bracket XTREME”

A substitute for March Madness!

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Doron Loewenberg '21, Odds & Ends Editor

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Hello all! My name is Doron Loewenberg, and I am a new writer for the Sentinel staff. I am also, despite its recent problems, a huge fan of college sports, so I was pretty bummed when this year’s annual March Madness tournament was cancelled due to… circumstances. Fear not, intrepid readers! For I humbly present to you Doron Loewenberg’s the Sentinel’s “Best Things to Do During Quarantine Bracket XTREME” (the XTREME adds a bit of much-needed flair)! 

But first, a few ground rules. I have split this bracket up into four categories of activities, with four items per category. There will be a round of voting each week with updates coming in the next week’s edition, all culminating in the final after two weeks of voting. You can vote using the polls embedded in this article. Now, on to our contestants!

Category #1: Viewing

Ah yes, the television screen. It has enamored our nation for decades, but now, thanks to the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Roku, it has become more and more common to shun this box of wonders in favor of a slightly smaller box of wonders. That said, any of my friends have said they plan on watching TV “at least thrice” during this quarantine, so I felt it necessary to include this medium in my bracket. Here are your contenders:

1. Tiger King: You can think of this as emblematic of Netflix as a whole. When I made this bracket, I intended on using specific examples for everything, but then I realized that was too hard, and I am now stubbornly refusing to change this back. Tiger King has taken the world by storm — I guess nobody can resist the charms of a weird, middle-aged man who likes cats. Vote for this one if you like pure insanity and dislike Carol Baskin.

2. Disney+: My family does not actually own a Disney + account, so I feel a little unqualified to be making this entry. With that said, while making this, I was afraid that when Disney finally achieved their goal of taking over the world by buying literally everything, they would remember my transgressions and send me to a horrible fate. Vote for this one if you love nostalgia and, like me, fear the one they call Mickey Mouse.

Viewing, Pair #1

  • Disney+ (62%, 8 Votes)
  • Tiger King (38%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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3. Old Sports: What does a creator do when he has nothing more to create? What shall a titan do when his minions are spent? Giants of the sports broadcasting industry are now pondering this question, as the well of live sports has all but dried up in light of the pandemic. Well, everything but Wrestlemania, for some reason. Those of us who don’t want to see large oily men being thrown around have to rely on old broadcasts of events we’ve already seen. Vote for this one if you like knowing the ending and wish sports were back already.

4. Celebrity Concerts: This is a new one, even for the pandemic. Various organizations and celebrities have been organizing live-streamed concerts for the masses, and oftentimes they’re even good. Unfortunately, when I watched the Dave Matthews Band concert with my family a week ago, he didn’t get a single one of his lyrics right. Vote for this one if you like live music and wish Dave Matthews could get his lyrics right.

Viewing, Pair #2

  • Celebrity concerts (91%, 10 Votes)
  • Old sports (9%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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Category #2: Video Games

As previously mentioned, I tried to be specific while writing this tournament. As you can see, this one was the easiest to write. One thing most people don’t know about me is that I love video games. One thing that I know about me is that I have played only one of these video games. You can guess which one I’ve played, or you can just wait for the rest of the article. Anywho, on with the contenders!

1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons: In this time of social isolation, Animal Crossing has provided the world with much-needed respite from the craziness and gloom that the world hath wrought upon us. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is another entry in Nintendo’s long-running series, and with it comes another opportunity to fix up another little town filled with adorable animal people. I haven’t played this one, but I’ve seen people play this one, and, by god, does it look like I need to play this game. It’s cute, charming, bright, and just too pure for this world. Vote for this one if you like cute animals, building relationships, and catching butterflies. 

2. Doom Eternal: Ah Doom, you shall forever be the scourge of parents and pacifists alike. Since the ‘90s, the Doom series has gone through three decades of killing demons in increasingly graphic ways, and this year’s Doom Eternal is no different. I haven’t played this one either, and, judging by what I’ve seen, I think I’m gonna sit this one out. Vote for this one if you love guts, gore, guns, and a classic shooter reborn. 

Video Games, Pair #1

  • Animal Crossing (100%, 7 Votes)
  • Doom Eternal (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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3. Mario Sports: This one is a little cheat by me; I apologize to all the Half Life fans who I have angered by putting this one in instead of Alyx. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry; let’s talk about Mario instead. Mario, in addition to being the world’s favorite Italian plumber, has had his fair share of sporting experiences. From baseball, to tennis, to Formula One, to party games, to even the Olympics, any and all Mario Sports titles are perfect to keep you and your family occupied inside. From personal experience, some of my favorite memories are MarioKarting with my friends. Vote for this one if you love party games, the color red, and a fun, low-stakes time. Except for Rainbow Road, that is.

4. Fortnite: Is this still a thing? Am I out of touch with the teens? Who knows? I don’t care; I’ve somehow avoided playing Fortnite all these years, and I don’t intend on starting now. Vote for this one if you need that epic Victory Royale.

Video Games, Pair #2

  • Mario Sports (100%, 9 Votes)
  • Fortnite (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Category #3: Reading

Hah, you fools! You’ve fallen right into my trap! Now you’re going to have to care about reading when that’s the last thing you want to do during quarantine. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this quick and general so that I can get back to reading. 

1. School Reading: I think that this one gets a worse rap than it deserves. Some of my personal favorite works of literature — The Invisible Man, Macbeth, The Odyssey — have all been recommended to me by an English teacher. Listen to your teachers sometimes — they’re here for a reason. (Completely unrelated — Ms. Sproule! Could you maybe possibly curve my gra—–.) Vote for this one if you’re willing to take a suggestion from someone versed in the topic.

2. Pleasure Reading: Now this, this is an activity! Who doesn’t love curling up by the fire with a novel of your choice, or basking on a porch with an e-reader in one hand and a cool glass of lemonade in another? If you need a suggestion, just refer to the handy Doron Loewenberg’s Top Ten Books to read when you’re bored! It hasn’t been written yet, but lemme tell you, number three will blow your mind! Vote for this one if you love to get lost in a book of your own choosing.

Reading, Pair #1

  • Pleasure reading (73%, 8 Votes)
  • School reading (27%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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3. News Reading: Now, more than ever, it is pivotal to have all the information we can. Staying updated is one of the most important things one can do during a pandemic like this, so you’d best be reading the news! I read the news every day; vote here if you, too, like to keep updated with the printed — or typed — press.

4. Subtitle Reading: “Doron, this isn’t another Netflix one because you boxed yourself in too much and you can’t think of another type of reading, right?” Right…

Reading, Pair #2

  • News reading (60%, 6 Votes)
  • Subtitle reading (40%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Category #4: Miscellaneous

Ah yes, the other ones. As much as I want to, nobody can spend all day watching TV, playing video games, or reading books. There is more to life, and these four activities (which I could not place into any other category) prove it. 

1. Working Out: I was a solid 200 pounds when I went into quarantine, and you better be darn sure that I will weigh the same when I walk out of the house. Just because you can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean that you can’t stay active and healthy for a couple of months. Besides, working out allows you to release energy in a way most of these other activities can’t, and lord knows we all need to be as calm as possible right now. Vote for this one if you live an active life and want to keep it up even though you’re staying at home.

2. Practicing: Time stops for nobody, and neither do coaches’ expectations. Yes, this includes musical and theatrical directors, too; you’re welcome, arts kids! Whether you need to practice scales, pitching, passing, acting, singing, or whatever you’d be doing after school under normal circumstances, you’d better keep doing it now! I, for one, still have plenty of baseball managing and vocal practice to do; catch me singing solfege while I lug a jug of water around. Vote for this one if the grind doesn’t stop for anyone, least of all you. 

Miscellaneous, Pair #1

  • Working out (90%, 9 Votes)
  • Practicing (10%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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3. Board Gaming: I know I’m not supposed to take a stance on these matters, but I really want this one to win. I am a board gaming aficionado, if I do say so myself, and I would love to find out that I share interests with a bunch of my peers. Board gaming is an underappreciated art, and if this goes out in the first round, there will be heck to pay. This is a warning. Vote for this one if you love sitting around a tabletop, and love a good round of [Insert anything other than Monopoly].

4. Family Time: We’ve done it lads–we’ve reached the end. What better way to end this tournament set-up than with the people we love most of all, our family? Like it or not, we’re all about to spend a whooooooole lotta time with our families, so we better make the most out of it! Doesn’t matter whether you’re watching a movie, eating dinner together, or doing any other family activity, you’d better get used to it!

Miscellaneous, Pair #2

  • Family time (70%, 7 Votes)
  • Board gaming (30%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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So there you have it: a completely fair and not at all arbitrary list! Use the polls to vote for your favorite activities and try and push them to victory. Enjoy!