(See the bottom of this post for an entertaining written recent history of my tournament experiences.)
But because I've written about it so much, there's very little "new" surrounding the tournament. (Though that is this year's 'new' bracket at left for your enjoyment.)
So this year I've turned what has often been a solitary experience for me into a more social one.
I'm pretty sure I've only ever watched the NCAA Tournament at home, by myself. At the very least, that's been the case in the decade I've been teaching. And even before that, I never went anywhere to watch the games - I have vague memories of watching with a couple of friends at my house.
I don't know that I had a reason for not going somewhere to watch the games. If I know me, though, which I do very well, I'd bet it was because I had too much going on. I had to keep track of my picks, which were written down, and I had to record all the scores of all the games...my living room is much more conducive than a bar to all of that.
This year, I figured I could use a break from doing all of the channel-changing by myself. I asked a friend if he wanted to catch the games somewhere after work, and we were going to try to stay out until the end of the first round of the night games - I can't make it through until midnight (it's a school night), but I can park myself in front of a bunch of screens showing CBS, TBS, truTV, and TNT - or whatever stations are showing the games - at least through the end of the 7pm starts.
Outside of actually attending some games at a first round venue, I don't know that there are any possible new NCAA experiences left for me...and I've written about them all. Hope you enjoy the following:
2008: One of the first times I wrote about my obsession with the NCAA Tournament, as well as the viewing experience. Also, a breakdown of my brackets to that point. (For what it's worth - this year marks the 21st year I'm filling out a bracket.)
2009: I wrote about the emotions that accompany the beginning of the Tournament for me.
2010: I broke down the week of the Tournament - nothing has changed all that much for me since then, other than the addition of games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
2011: A personal favorite - The first time two of my children filled out their brackets. They did it again this year - my oldest picked James Madison to go all the way (she likes the presidents) and my middle child came out with Duke over Michigan. (Ha! One picked Duke and the other picked the Dukes!) My wife made her picks too...but they're less cute.
2011: Also from two years ago, there was a little bit of a shift in my approach to Tournament week.
2012: And last year my wife took over the blog the week of the Tournament, writing about how March Madness ushers in a big sports period in our house.
Bottom line: if you're looking for me, I'll be out on Thursday evening. But you can catch me on Friday late afternoon and into the evening...I'll be sitting at home in front of the TV...enjoying the NCAA Tournament from my usual spot.