Hoop! Here It Is!

WARNING: This is more of a journal entry than a critical look at what I watched. I hope you enjoy.

2020 brought us March Sadness. 2021 brings the return of March Madness.. albeit a subdued version.

I did something on the first day of the tournament that I’ve never been able to do: sit in front of my TV for 12 hours on the first day and watch parts of all 16 games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. As a kid I had school and as an adult I always worked. But this year decided to do immerse myself. And it was awesome!

Mindless Exercise

The irony is that I’ve never been less interested in a tournament. I didn’t fill out even one bracket and none of the teams I have even a passing interest in made the field. (The committee always looks for ways to exclude the Ball State Cardinals. It’s jealousy and politics). None of the teams, even the undefeated one, have grabbed the excitement and imagination of fans. There’s no “Team of Destiny” talk anywhere.

But.. I still couldn’t wait to watch. Do I wish my first time was at a sports book in Vegas? You bet! My second choice is a loud, raging sports bar. But since I haven’t had shots in my arm, doing shots in a crowded bar is still not for me. So my third choice is to chill some beers, cook some totally unhealthy but totally delicious bar food, and put the remote through a workout.

Courts Are In Session

I spent hours watching teams I’ve never heard of and trusted the announcers to tell me what I needed to know, and I still barely remember anything I watched. It all blended together. Team to team, game to game, announcer to announcer, it’s all just a blur. No plays standout and I was never excited or disappointed at an outcome. (The same cannot be said for my dad, whose bracket was busted twice by the (Really) Big 10) The lack of stands packed with screaming, passionate fans also takes down the experience. The energy just isn’t there.

But still.. I enjoyed it. Like so many things this year, I had to personalize the experience. No Buffalo Wild Wings? I made my own. No beer on tap? I poured my own. No fans to taunt or bond with? I just relentlessly texted my dad and friends. For my first deep dive into March Madness, I’m happy. Next year I will be in Vegas or a bar, and do a comparison.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

I’m going for a four point play: Peroni for the first set of games, Killians for the second, Vodka for the third games, and will wine down the day with a box of pinot noir.


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