Without a doubt, this is my favourite weekend of the year. Not only do we get to drink ourselves into a ridiculously drunken stupour by throwing back an endless barage of Guiness and Bushmills while listening to The Pogues, Van Morrison, and Thin Lizzie; but we get to do so while watching the NCAA tournament. Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
Well, there might have been. My buddy Foley and I were supposed to head down to Boston this weekend for 48 hours of South-Boston St. Patty's Day good times. Our good pal Flats just recently moved down there and had an absurdly debaucherous game plan all laid out that included visits to The Beacon Hill Pub and Black Thorn Bar (a Southie staple), as well as diggin' on some world famous chouda at The Barking Crab and a slice of killer pie at Pinocchio's, ultimately culminating at the favourite stomping grounds of whichever one of Holy Cross or Boston College manages to advance. It had the potential to warrant the kind of recap that could eclipse even the Nashville debacle that almost caused my brain to melt while attempting to write it earlier in the week. But alas, the plan was ixnayed at the last minute due to some unforseen commitments on the part of my travel-mate (to quote the man himself: "I may or may not hang myself with my tie from a ceiling fan").
But not to worry, because this gives me the chance to spend St. Patrick's day in Toronto - something I was unable to do last year because I was busy sitting on a boat and drinking Ecuadorian Pilsener somewhere off the shores of the Galapagos Islands; a memorable St. Patrick's day to be sure, but hardly the vomiting-your-Irish-stew-on-the-dancefloor-while-jigging-to-Dirty-Old-Town type of experience that I've come to love and expect. So in a way, I'm almost happy about the roaddie being postponed. But the question remains: how do you adequately incorporate both the madness of the NCAAs, and the madness of the 17th of March? For a guy who is more than content to watch his bracket being busted from the comforts of his living room, merrily screaming obscenities at the TV in his underwear, this can pose quite a dilema. But I think I may have come up with the perfect solution.
I originally devised this scheme while brainstorming on ways to pass the time on the nine hour drive to Beantown, on which we would have forced us to listen to all of the Thursday night games (utter sacrilege, I know). The plan was for Foley and I to each fill out our brackets Wednesday night, as is the custom, and then to go head-to-head in each and every game in the opening round. On the line? A beverage for every game. For example: if I'd picked VCU over Duke, and Foley had the loathsome Blue Demons taking down the Rams, there would be a drink riding on the outcome of the game; meaning that when VCU pulls off the inevitable upset, Foley will owe me a wee Jameson on the rocks. Simple stuff. And in the event that we both picked the same team, as would surely be the case with the obvious 12-5 upset of ODU over Butler, we'd throw the spread in and do a best two-out-of-three rock-paper-scissors to see who takes who.
Each and every game would be intense because every game would have something riding on it, and the fact that you'd be going one-on-one with one of your buddies would mean that you'd be given the opportunity to scream obscenities, not simply at the TV, but also at the guy you'll be buying drinks for. Unlike most March Madness pools, the payoff for making the right call would be almost immediate. And perhaps most importantly, engaging in this type of bracket-boozing pretty well gurantees the best St. Patrick's Day you'll ever have. And as for Saturday's games, when most everyone's brackets will surely be as annihilated as the men's room at The Pour House? Just bet on the spread, and make sure you take a cab home.
One more March Madness note. My brother Ronnie is in Las Vegas this weekend doing some work for the Champ Car race scheduled to go down in early April, and I have to say, that might be the coolest place to watch the tournament. I would give just about anything to sit in the Mirage sports book all day Thursday watching the action go down. And I don't even gamble. But Ronnie has promised to give me a shout from one of the books Friday night so I can listen in on the action and throw a sawbuck down on Creighton-Nevada to hedge myself against any losses incurred at the hands of young Foley this weekend.
Completely unrelated: I found an absolutely hilarious site chronicling a group of white wannabe gangstas; the self-proclaimed 40oz Crew; on their quest to drink as many 40 ouncers in as many different locals as possible. The site is strangely addictive, and sadly reminded me a lot of a past life of mine. Pretty funny stuff, and if nothing else, can be highly motivational in the face of the damage you will inflict on your body this weekend.