We’re well into March, and you know what that means . . . you’ve researched the NCAA teams and picked your favorites, your bracket is set (and looking pretty darn good). You’re all set for some serious couch time as the days and weeks of this great tournament progresses. If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone. It is estimated that 181 million of us will tune in to the games during the madness of March, for a grand total of 664 million hours spent watching (which, just for the sake of context, is approximately 75.7 years). Whoa – that is a LOT of sets of eyes glued to a LOT of televisions featuring NCAA commentators, shoe squeaks on court floors, and amazing basketball feats. If so many of your friends and family will be watching anyway, chances are you’re thinking about hosting some March fun of your own. Want to host a basketball bash, but a little short on brilliant ideas? Here are some fun ones:
- Organize a squares pool. Channel your inner 5th grader, grab some poster board and markers, and make a giant 10x10 grid. List all the names of one team along the side, and the other team across the top. Number each column 1-9. As your guests arrive they can write their name in one of the squares, and the person whose number reflects the final digit of the winning team’s score wins. Winner gets something awesome, but we do not encourage or condone gambling!
- Run a few side-pools, too. Making a bracket for players’ tantrum predictions, bad officiating from the refs, or one of the announcers interesting catch phrases (can YOU define a Strawberry Shortcake, Diaper Dandy, or a Dow Jonser??) keeps things lively.
- If themed parties are your thing, consider an all-ball menu, with a few different kinds of cheese balls, meatballs with dipping sauces, grapes, mini skewers of mozzarella balls and tomatoes, and cake pops and donut holes for dessert. Aside from the sugary stuff, an all-ball menu can be healthy-living friendly, boasting high protein and veggies for dipping.
- In between games, or when there’s a lull in the action, step outside for a quick basketball game of your own. This will add a little exercise to an otherwise sedentary gathering, and it’s a great way to burn off game anxiety-induced nervous energy. Too cold to venture out? Set up a mini indoor net and hold contests for the most shots made in 30 seconds.
March Madness is a great opportunity to host an entertaining, lighthearted, fitness-friendly gathering for your pals. Even if your favorite team was miles away from making it to the finals, there is fun to be had by everyone at your party. Plus, who knows? You may get inspired by those college kids strutting their impressive athletic prowess on the court, and decide to relive your own school basketball days with some pickup games, free-throw practice, or heck – even a good old-fashioned game of HORSE. Enjoy basketball season. It can be the best kind of Madness.