Thursday, March 21, 2013

The NCAA (-Watching) Crew

I'll be hanging out with some old friends from high school this weekend, as I do every year at Smarch Smadness time. No Bobby V's this year, though. But somewhere close to there. When I talk about "my Yankee-fan friends," this is the Core Four. What better time to rate their fandom!? We'll go oldest to newest.

1. Chris. Known since: 4th grade. Yankee fandom strength back then: Moderate. Yankee fandom strength now: Mild. Overall assessment: Gimme a break, Chris, you know you don't really give a shit about that team and you're just happy to wear the championship T-shirts. He was one of the few people I could always commiserate with when it came to the J-E-T-S, although he did have that odd Bears back-up team.

2. Mike. Known since: 6th grade, but really 5th grade since we played each other in Little League even though we were at different elemen--well, I'm getting a little too detailed, let's move on. Yankee fandom strength back then: Diehard. Yankee fandom strength now: still going strong, I'm sure having kids makes him miss more games than he'd like, but there's no chance of him ever liking another team or anything like that. Overall assessment: The real deal. He was born in New York state, came from the Yanks/Giants/Knicks/Rangers (aka the exact opposite of the teams I grew up with--people always wondered how we ever got along) old-school family and just went with what he knew.

3. Chan. Known since: 9th grade. Yankee fandom strength back then: Strong, but, see the notes section. Yankee fandom strength now: Extremely weak. Overall assessment: Chan got roped into the Yanks by my friend Jim when he arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong. I tried to convert him, but he'd been bitten by the classy bug. He claims it's just because Jim was the first to befriend him, so he ended up with his team. At least he gets credit for starting to like them right during that mini-stretch of stank-dom and didn't jump on the Blue Jays or A's bandwagon at the time. His fandom of baseball in general waned in the last decade, with my rabid annoying Sox fandom I think pushing him right out baseball's door when we lived together in NYC from '05 to '07. Now he occasionally wears the stupid hat and does still love in the City, but he truly doesn't give a shit now. Though there's still no chance he'd every go to any other team.

4. Jim. Known since: 10th grade: Yankee fandom strength back then: Diehard. Yankee fandom strength now: Still fairly strong. Overall assessment: Also the real deal, as he came from The Bronx to our woodsy little town in CT, introducing all of us to things like Nice & Smooth and low-ridin', aka letting your boxers show above your pants, but this was circa 1989 before every single kid started doing it like they do now. We weren't total opposites though, as he went the Celts/Bears/Rangers route. So we both still love to hate the Knicks and Lakers, and he kind of roots for the Jets sympathetically with Chris and, until I finally gave up, me. He claims to have "sworn off" the Yanks RIGHT before they finally won it all in '96, so I think he swore them back on again. I know he still follows the team closely, but might not be quite as rabid as back in the day. But, again, no chance of him becoming a Mets fan or anything like that.

So anyway, we'll have fun watching four games at once and rooting for teams we never cared about until that moment as if our lives depended on it. As you know, I'm an armchair Zags fan--this is finally the year! As for the first round, here's my tip, but you only have a few hours left: It's simple. Vegas. Look at the Vegas odds on each game. If a 10 is favored over a 7, you pick the 10. If a 12 is only a 2-point dog to a 5, gotta go with the 12. Know what I'm sayin'? Vegas knows this shit. They'll tell you who's supposed to win and by how much, way more than the seedings will. Use Vegas to see how wrong or right the seedings are. You'll be fine. I always kick ass in Round 1, which they now call Round 2. After that I'm completely in the dark and I don't think I've won since Michigan beat Seton Hall in like 1989 or something.

Zags, huh? Maybe next year.
It's not fair, they went from hunter to hunted over the years without ever having won a championship!

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Location: Rhode Island, United States