The Final Four is here and you should be terrified.
Like the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup playoffs, the closer we get to the crowning of a champion, the more people will have their interests piqued. What does this mean? Well, that the clueless and the apathetic will inevitably mix in with the overly passionate diehards, creating hilarious dynamics in Final Four parties around the country
To prepare you for what you will encounter, ladies and gentleman, I present to you “A Viewer’s Guide of the Viewers of the Final Four.”
The “Diehard Whose Team is Actually Still Playing” Guy
How to Spot Them: Most likely will be wearing a jersey that is either too big or too small, will definitely not be talking to anyone, and will demand the best seat around the TV because “I’m the only one whose team is actually playing.”
How to Interact With Them: The best medicine for someone who is being irrational is to validate their irrationality. So, when a correct call is made against the diehard’s team, and they start talking about potential conspiracies, join them ((ex) “Yeah, I think I saw the referees partying with Wisconsin too last night, that’s probably why they called that three seconds in the first half). Overall, they are too overly invested to be reasonable with. Proceed with caution.
The “I Don’t Know Anything About Sports and I Feel the Need to Advertise This” Guy
How to Spot Them: They are going to be cynical about anything they don’t understand. If an exciting play happens and the room erupts, they will say something sarcastic like “Yay, sports!” or “I just love basketball, this is the best.” They won’t add anything interesting to the conversation, probably looking to change the subject whenever possible. They will eat all your food, drink all your beer, and leave with the game tied with two minutes to play. They will never be understood.
How to Interact With Them: Do not feed the beast. Do not ask them if they made a bracket, because they didn’t. Do not ask them whom they want to win, because they won’t choose. Don’t even ask them how they’re doing, because it doesn’t matter. They have to be ignored. That is what the college basketball gods intended.
The “I Don’t Know Anything About Sports, but ‘Hey, I’m Going to Try to Have Fun’” Guy”
How to Spot Them: Their contributions to the game-watch are difficult to handle. They love asking questions that are so unbelievably general that they really can’t be wrong. “Florida hasn’t been to the Final Four in a while right?” You can’t say no, because technically they’re right. Also, their cheering/reactions will give them away. All dunks will garner a “Whoa that was nuts!” and calls like “three seconds” will undoubtedly have them looking to their phones for help from the Wikipedia “Rules of Basketball” page.
How to Interact With Them: They mean well and should be embraced. It is not their fault that they don’t know what’s going on. They probably just want to have a good time and avoid being exposed outright for their lack of knowledge. Be patient with their confusion; at the end of the day, they prevent everyone from taking things too seriously.
The “I HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN MY BRACKET POOL” Guy:
How to Spot Them: Well, they won’t stop talking about their goddamn bracket. They probably had “a rough start” and thought they were “totally out,” but somehow came back. They “actually did a lot of research this year” and “just followed their gut” when they picked Mercer over Duke. You hate them and so do I.
How to Interact With Them: You unequivocally root against whatever team they have winning their bracket. If you can’t have the prize money, neither can they. That is just how life works. Also, ask them more questions regarding their bracket strategy. Jealously is real and you should want to win next year. Be subtle about it.
The “Bandwagon” Guy:
How to Spot Them: If you can’t sense their aura of annoyingness naturally, they will be the one cheering for whatever team is winning. It will be shameless. They will almost convince you of why they are justified in rooting for the team in front, but then you will remember that “having a second cousin who went to Wisconsin Dental School,” is very much not a reason to root for the Badgers. No matter the result, they will win. They are the worst of people.
How to Interact With Them: Expose them. Question their knowledge of the team they are rooting for. Even if everyone in the room knows what you are doing, do it anyway. Ask them how far the team got last year in the NCAAs, or even to just name this year’s starting five. You will have fun. They will not.
Using this guide, you won’t even have to watch the games to have a blast. Enjoy the Final Four, everyone.Photo: Joe Del Russo/Flickr