10 Methods For Making The Most Of the Madness That Is The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
One of the best bar times of the entire year is during March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is such a shootout, loaded with upsets, and there’s celebration and heartbreak taking place , especially during the opening round on Thursday and Friday (March 16 and 16 in 2012).
And of course, we all have brackets with office pools or among friends, so all the games are important. And this is why the bars are so much fun; everyone has something in common and people share the emotions of victory or defeat throughout the day or night. Suddenly, strangers become best friends. Good friends become even greater pals (in both victory and defeat) and along with the spirits being served, there’s an abundance of spirit in the bars.
There are so many buzzer-beaters, often back-to-back and sometimes even back-t0-back-to-back, that bars are almost constantly buzzing with energy.
One warning: the second round of games on Saturday take place the same day as St. Patrick’s Day. So you’re allowed change your focus for that celebration.
1.) Have Your NCAA Bracket With You At All Times. Perhaps there’s an app for this now, but regardless, don’t go into the bar unarmed. You can’t possibly remember if you picked Davidson, St. Mary’s or Creighton or whatever team from whatever conference. And if one of these mid-majors is pulling an upset, you want to know whether to pull for them to win or lose.
2.) Make Sure The Bar Is Showing All The Games. This sounds simple but sometimes it’s more difficult than it appears. Some bars and bartenders may not quite grasp the significance of March Madness and may not be quick enough on the remote to switch from one buzzer-beater to another. Don’t take that risk; be sure when you walk in that all the games are on the TVs. If not, walk out and go to another bar.
3.) Order Pitchers, Not Glasses of Beer. Things can get really intense, bars are crowded and you don’t want to find yourself having to go to the bar or wait in a long line when a dramatic finish is taking place.
4.) Tip The Bartender Or Waitress Well After Ordering Your First Round. The best way to get great service is to show your intent to tip your server from the beginning. Do this by living a nice tip on the first round, a little larger than you normally would, so say $3 on two beers instead of $2. It doesn’t have to be excessive, just encouraging enough to let them know to keep your glass filled. The last thing you want to do in a bar during March Madness is to be stuck with an empty glass, especially if you’ve won a game on a last-second shot.
5.) Find A Seat or Spot at the Bar Where You Can See Several TVs. There are two kinds of March Madness fans, those who just have a pool because everyone else does, and those who are watching their alma mater play and live on the edge in close games. No matter which category you fall into, be sure and find a spot in the bar where you can keep a watch on all the games. It’s easy to get wrapped up in one, and then suddenly you miss a buzzer-beater that just happened on a TV across the bar. Think big picture when watching March Madness.
6.) Be Careful If You Go To A Sports Bar During Your Lunch Break. Since games start the first two days at noon on the East Coast – and 9 a.m., on the West Coast – there’s action happening during the day. The obvious thought is “hey, let’s go watch some games at lunch.” Good idea, but only if there’s better execution. Because there’s four games on simultaneously, it’s easy get wrapped up in the action and forget about getting back to work. Especially if you ease into your post-work mode and have a beer or even two brews. Suddenly, you’re an hour late back to the office and the boss is pissed. Here’s a better strategy: Work through lunch, then scoot out a bit early so you can be at the bar by Happy Hour.
7.) Don’t Stay Seated The Whole Time; Walk Around The Bar From Time to Time. Because there are so many games being played, especially on opening weekend, it’s easy to stay glued to a barstool. But that can make your limbs numb, to say nothing of the brain. It also can make your more drunk, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you’re in this for the long haul and need to stay alert for all the games. So if you’re there for a long period of time, take periodic walks around the bar, step outside for the fresh air and stretch the joints. By the way,if you need to sober up to meet the wife or girlfriend (or both, ha ha), then check out these 5 Tips For Sobering Up After Drinking.
8.) Don’t Gloat. If you’ve won a close, or a big game, certainly celebrate. Pump the fist, give out a yell, etc. But don’t rub it in the face of those around you who have lost. In fact, be friendly during the games with everyone around you, even if they are from a rival school or have made different picks. This is a winning tip anytime.
9.) Don’t Scoff at Girls and Their Picks. March Madness may be the only time when guys pay little attention to girls in a bar. They are watching the games! So when a girl roots for a team, or talks about her bracket, welcome her as if she were a cheerleader. We once had a girl in our pool who picked teams based on the colors of their uniforms. And you know what – she won the pool!
10.) In Case of a Close Game, Call Me to See Which Team I Picked. I always lose the close ones! If I picked the same team as you to win, you’re hosed. If you picked the other team, your golden.