So a few years ago my friend Larry Downes was laid up at home, recovering from extensive surgery. Larry is/was a tremendous 16" softball player in the Chicago area and had completely blown out his shoulder. Doctors told him he'd be in a sling and should stay home from work for a few weeks. Larry, being a smart guy, scheduled the surgery right around the time of the NCAA Tournament.

And because he had a little extra time on his hands, he built this:

Larry Downes
Larry Downes
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That's right. It's a hand-crafted, life-sized, interactive Tournament bracket. This is the 2005 version, when the Fighting Illini played North Carolina in the championship game. As you can see, each team has its own block. As the team moves on, the block moves forward along the bracket:

Larry Downes
Larry Downes
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And let me remind you, it basically was constructed with the use of only one healthy arm. Not too shabby. Larry has a bit of an art background as well, so the individual blocks are really well done:

Larry Downes
Larry Downes
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I can't recall how long the entire effort took, but I would argue no matter the time commitment it was well worth it. And while I haven't asked Larry, I would imagine he might consider making another one for the right price. A very high price.

He also promised to send new pictures from this year with "upgraded blocks." I'll post when I receive them.