March Madness and Green Beer

As the month of March slowly begins its morphing process from a lion to a lamb, life reaches a apex for all those who are Irish, and all those college basketball moguls who frequently bet against the Irish this past winter. Yes, as many noticed, this past week was the commencement of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Tournament, and today, as I sit here and write wearing green socks and a grossly oversized green Bailey's derby, is the coveted holiday of St. Patrick's Day.

Being a huge college basketball fan, I always get a little excited come March. Basketball is perhaps the best spectator sport. Baseball tends to drag on, football has too many breaks in the action, you can't follow the puck in hockey, you can't understand the announcers in soccer, I rather play tennis than watch it, and golf is..., well golf is just golf. And in my humble opinion (which is absolute law in Feff World), college basketball is the purest form of the sport of basketball. College basketball is before players get a big head and a big wallet. College basketball is before players get agents and shoe deals. And college basketball is before players get 5-10 years for cocaine possession. When he played college basketball, Michael Jordan wasn't the star of his team, his coach was. When he played college basketball, Dennis Rodman only had one hair color, his natural one. And when he played college basketball, Chris Jackson was still Chris Jackson, and he always stood when they played the national anthem. I guess that is why many players choose to leave college early to go to the NBA; they realize that in college you can't make commercials, make money, or make political statements, all you can do is play basketball and get an education, and in my opinion that is the way it should be. Basketball is not about a bunch a guys with big egos who can dunk; basketball is about an ageless coach leading a group of overmatched players, with more heart than talent, to a victory over the reigning national champions.

Well anyway, getting back to the tournament, one of the many traditions surrounding the NCAA tournament, besides skipping school or work to watch early round games, is the office pool. College basketball is the single most bet on sport in America, and at no time does the green flow more freely than during March. Everybody from your local librarian to your church pastor all become college basketball experts for just one month, as they intelligently fill out the brackets, hoping their predictions will lead to profit. With all my expertise of college basketball, and with all my experience of participating in countless NCAA tournament pools, the only advice I can give you is to bet with your heart. The whole thing is one big crap shoot, and anything can and will happen. In ten years of participating I have already won three pools, which is pretty good since many people go a lifetime without getting lucky just once. The reason I won three pools is that being a big Duke Blue Devils fan, I went with my heart and picked Duke to win the national championship every year they were in the tournament. And if you follow college basketball, you know that Duke was a good horse to ride during the late 80's/early 90's. The biggest mistake is that people try to over-analyze the brackets, thinking they can use their intelligence and logic to outsmart everyone else that may be in the same pool as they are. This never happens, even the commentators on TV, who get paid to cover college basketball, always end up making some lousy predictions. It seems in most office pools, the winner is never the guy who knows everything there is to know about college basketball, but some lady who picked winners solely on which team had the better mascot.

OK, time to move away from the world of college basketball, and to recognize today's very special holiday: St. Patrick's Day. Now I am only one eighth Irish (along with 1/8th German, 1/8th Polish, 1/8th English, 1/8th Russian, 3/8th Italian, and 100 percent of top quality ground beef), but I still always get in the spirit for St. Patrick's Day. I guess the saying goes that everybody is Irish on St. Patty's Day. But actually, according to my observations, the saying should be everybody is drunk on St. Patty's Day. The reason everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, is that St. Patrick's Day is just one big excuse for people to drink beer in excess. And this isn't just any beer, this is green beer. It's green so it matches the color of an Irishman's face just before he loses his cornbeef and cabbage all over the bathroom floor. And the sad thing, is that this holiday is glorified in the media. If St. Patrick's Day was about nothing but honoring a cool guy who got rid of all of the snakes in Ireland, then nobody would give a damn about it, and even the Irish would stop celebrating it. But it is no longer about that. When people think of St. Patrick's Day, all they think about is drinking beer, getting drunk, and throwing rocks at gay people marching in a parade. And what kind a message is a holiday celebrating this kind of behavior sending to the children? Alcohol destroys people and rips apart families, and the last thing we need is a holiday that glorifies mass consumption of it.

Well I think I will end for this week, I have to go check to see how my picks are doing, so to conclude, maybe next year for the Blue Devils; Pete Carril is a genius; and the luck of the Irish won't be with you if you are DWI.

Now for this week's special feature, Feff's top ten better alternatives to drinking green beer:

10. Green Snapple Iced Tea
9. Green Milk
8. Green Dr. Pepper
7. Green Prune Juice (keeps ya regular)
6. Green Lemonade
5. Green Orange Juice
4. Green Pineapple Soda
3. Green Water
2. Green Ovaltine
1. Lemon-Lime Gatorade (no dyes needed!!)