It’s March. And once again the time has come when the basketball community in America rises as one and gives every office the appearance of Guido’s back room at the Bada-Bing. The non-office paperwork generated by the tournament makes a lumberjack dance a jig. The Big Dance or the NCAA tournament if you’re a newb starts Tuesday with play-in games. Filling out a bracket has become a March tradition in the same way that you serve guacamole at your Super Bowl party.
I thought it would be beneficial to share the ins and outs of watching the tourney and leave it all on the court, errr, couch. When that final Monday night comes, you will know you that you couldn’t have given anymore. I have watched many, many tourneys. And lost many games. I’ve won my share but in the end, it didn’t matter because the Madness was upon me. This tournament is unlike any event in college sports. Winners of every single conference along with a boatload of at-large bids make up the field of 68 teams. Some have no chance while the champion will most likely be crowned from one of the top conferences. That’s okay. We do need one underdog winning through to the elite eight to make it interesting, though. So, fill out your bracket and wait for Thursday, dreaming of the way you will spend all that money when you win.
Food and drink type is unimportant. Quantity is. A trip to Costco will behoove you. Massive amounts. You are not leaving your living room for four days, off for three, then another four. All day long, morning til night, non-stop. Make a clear path to the bathroom and the fridge. This will be your only exercise for four days.
You need to start getting sick NOW. When Thursday comes and you are nowhere to be found, the boss is gonna be suspicious. Start coughing and sniffing a lot on the Monday prior to the games. On Tuesday, begin to scratch your neck until its good and red. On Wednesday, try to hang around your boss. While in his vicinity continue to hack and scratch. When he asks if you are okay, wave a hand and say, “It’s only been a couple days, be gone by the end of the weekend.” Once off the phone with HR, he will kindly ask you to go home.
I’m not counting the play-in games. These games were started for the sole purpose of the NCAA making more money. The NCAA is another subject for another time. So let’s start with the Thursday through Sunday. The first four days of the tournament are not for the faint of heart. It is truly March Madness. Multiple upsets will be happening, so keep your eyes peeled. Multiple games are being played at multiple times. Your attention needs to be focused. If you have more than one TV, use them. All of them. Have your PC webbed up to ESPN, ready to switch channels on a moment’s notice. There are no incoming phone calls, only texts, and those only from fellow Madness watchers.
By the end of the weekend, you will be spent. You will be drained. You will need this three-day break in the tourney to recover. Your second 4-day binge starts Thursday. While this should be easier than the first four, it won’t be. This will require more stamina than you thought possible. The first binge was adrenaline, the second has to be nothing but will. You can do this, it has been done before but you have to realize that you will never be the same. You will have watched all of or part of 48 games over the last 11 days. Don’t believe for a second it won’t be grueling. Red Bull and Slim Jims could be sold out by this time so stock up accordingly.
By the time Final Four Saturday hits us you will be back to normal. It will seem like something from your far past. Like war or fraternity initiation. Watch with your friends and enjoy.
Finals Monday is your crowning achievement. Make up a T-shirt that says, “I Survived March Madness 2016” and wear it to the party. You made it. You’re a vet. Just wait until next year.