This column by Big Daddy Drew made me lament the end of my longtime place to watch the first round of the NCAA Tournament: The Park Avenue Country Club, now defunct.
I would arrive at 11 a.m. and stake out a small round table by the bar with a good view of all the large TV screens. Obviously, I was by myself, so I'd put some stuff on the other chair to discourage people from sitting next to me. Some years, Mrs. Quickie would drop by for the late-afternoon games; other years, I simply maintained the facade -- I just needed a little space for myself in an otherwise insanely crowded bar.
Last year, on the first Thursday I live-blogged the afternoon for Deadspin, and while that was a ton of fun, it wasn't the same. This year, I will likely take advantage of CBS's online access to watch all the games from home or work.*
But, as Drew laments, it's just not the same as watching an early-round buzzer-beater in a bar, even if you don't know anyone.
(Ironically, given my usual interest in watching alone-among-a-crowd, my favorite first round viewing experience of all time was in 2002, when I led a group in taking over a corner of the Sports Depot in Allston, Mass. with a huge group of business school friends.)
* - It was a crazy Costanzan "collision of two worlds" that Drew put this above-mentioned post on Deadspin (where I regularly contribute) that referenced and linked to the company I work for in my "real" job. (What? You mean all that unpaid, unadvertised blogging doesn't pay for a mortgage or toddler daycare? Say it ain't so!) Drew had no idea, making the coincidence all the more fascinating and funny for me. But needless to say, to paraphrase George: "A Dan divided against itself CANNOT stand!"
(Update: +100 for the first two comments.)