The NCAA Tournament is here. The opening round represents the two single greatest sports days of the year. Blink and you might miss something. Luckily, your boy is here to give you a full guide to maximizing your enjoyment of these holiest of days. Behold, the Opening Round Primer:
Do take Thursday and Friday off. You don’t want to have to worry about working on days featuring sixteen games.
Don’t quit your job. If you have the vacation, take it; if not, don’t storm in and tell your boss that he can stick his mediocre pay up his ass so you can go watch Duke facial Lehigh.
Do get to the bar early. If you plan on staying where you’re at all day, get there at 11 in the morning to get a good table (I’m not joking).
Don’t sleep there the night before. Showing up at the bar with pajamas, a teddy bear, and a pillow while asking if they have a couch you can crash on will endear you to no one.
Do go to Vegas. I’ve never been for the tournament, but I heard it’s awesome.
Don’t go overboard on the gambling. By the time the Final Four rolls around you want to be focused on the games, not wondering if you’re HMO covers bookie-induced tibia fractures.
Do overtip your waitress. If you’re posting up at the same spot for more than two hours, you might want to throw her a couple extra bucks.
Don’t think you’re Ray Liotta in Goodfellas for doing so. Throwing the waitress an extra five is fine, but your friends will think you’re a douche if you start throwing twenties to bartenders, cooks, hostesses, and confused but appreciative busboys.
Do get passionate. Everyone likes a fan who’s into the game.
Don’t go overboard. Nobody wants to be the “Is he taking his shirt off in public?” guy.
Do quote your favorite announcer if it is Bill Raftery. He’s the best in the business. SEND IT IN JEROME!
Don’t quote your favorite announcer if it is Dick Vitale. In today’s society, calling everyone “baby” will inevitably result in a sexual harrassment charge at some point down the line. If you mimic Vitale, are you really willing to get a drink thrown in your face, slapped, and prosecuted? All so you can be like some bald asshole who looks like an owl?
Do fill out a bracket. Why wouldn’t you? Even if it sucks, so what? Nobody knows what they’re doing.
Don’t be “that guy.” Congratulations on going out on a limb and predicting that UNC and Kentucky would make deep runs in the tournament. We’re all very, very impressed. Look, the whole thing is a crap shoot. If you pick a few games right, go ahead and celebrate, but don’t act like you’re some genius because you “had” Murray State going to the Elite 8. Be honest with everyone, you did it because your neighbor’s dog is named Murray. Or maybe you really enjoy Canadian songstress Anne Murray. Either way, you’re not Jay Bilas.
Do talk trash. It’s all in good fun.
Don’t start a fight. No use doing time for aggravated assault because some dude behind you got angry at your “Coach K looks like Hitler shaved his moustache!” routine that everyone has used since ’86.
Do talk basketball. Use whatever knowledge you have to engage other basketball fans in stimulating conversation about the game.
Don’t lie about your basketball acumen. There’s no need to lie to girls and tell them you know what you’re talking about because you played Division III just to improve your already middling chances of getting laid.
Do have some drinks. You’re going to be at a bar, presumably, so of course you should have a few adult bevs.
Don’t get too wasted. By the time the late games roll around, everyone wants to focus on basketball. Nobody wants to focus on stopping the guy singing Prince’s Raspberry Beret in a UNC jersey with his pants off from driving home.