ARLINGTON, Texas _ You awoke this morning feeling empty and lost, unsure if you were going to have the energy to get out of bed, let alone make it through the rest of the week.
Yes, the NCAA tournament is over for another year, and it feels as if you'll never experience that delightful madness again. They always say the best remedy is to keep busy, so here are some ways you can occupy your time until next March:
Watch every version of "One Shining Moment." The greatest montage in history began in 1987, so this can carry you until the first week of May. See if you can identify every player. If not, watch that version again until you can. After watching the 1987-91 versions, take a moment to give thanks for the Fab Five. If not for them, who knows how much longer we would have been subjected to those hideous short shorts.
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When you've finished, get a group of friends together and debate whose version is best: David Barrett, Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross or Jennifer Hudson. (There actually is no debate on this. It's Luther Vandross, hands down.)
Enjoy Derek Jeter's summerlong retirement party. You thought Mariano Rivera's goodbye tour was a lovefest? That'll be nothing compared to the sendoff for Jeter, the only athlete who is universally adored even if he does play for the New York Yankees. (Seriously. Who could hate Derek Jeter? People who hate puppies and babies, that's who.)
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There is sure to be a party in every city he and the Yankees visit this summer, probably on the first day of the series. Those teams who will only see him in New York are likely to bring gifts. Keep a chart of who gives what and pass judgment on their choices.
Game of Thrones. Transfer your loathing for Duke to King Joffrey. He's a terrible, terrible human being – see, exactly like a Blue Devil! Season 4 premiered Sunday night, so either jump right in or, if you don't want to be completely lost, binge watch Seasons 1-3 and embrace the bloodshed. Or just watch it for the pretty people.
If gore isn't your thing, the last season of Mad Men begins this coming Sunday. And if depressing, womanizing, boozy advertising executives aren't your thing but depressing, catty, boozy women are, watch the Real Housewives.
Organize your sock drawer. The decision-making process alone will eat up hours of your day. Do you want to organize by color or purpose? Should you roll or fold? Where do you stand on organizers or dividers? And whatever possessed you to buy that neon-striped pair of toe socks?
If you're one of those lucky folks who lives in California, Florida or Hawaii and don't own socks, go buy some. They make excellent hand puppets in a pinch.
Finally learn to identify every state on a map. Don't pretend you know where Vermont is, you don't. And you didn't when you were in second grade, either. Not that we're judging. The New England states are tricky, even for the folks who live there.
While you're at it, learn the capitals of all the states, too. A tip for you: East Lansing may be a capital of the Big Ten, but it is not, in fact, the capital of Michigan. That would be the Lansing with no direction. And I mean that in the geographical sense, not an assessment of its drive or ambition.
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Go to the grocery store. You've been living on chips, hot wings and nachos these last three weeks, it's time to re-introduce real food to your diet. Those leafy green things are called vegetables, and those round, red and green objects are apples. Buy a carton of milk – did you even remember there are beverages that don't come in bottles or cans? -- and pick up some yogurt.
Your body will thank me. So will your poor couch.
Buy Coldplay's new album. Admit it, you always liked Chris Martin better than Gwyneth Paltrow.
Unplug your laptop and put away all handheld devices. The long, awful winter is finally over, and it's once again safe to venture outside. Do not be afraid of that bright yellow object in the sky; it's called the sun.
Discover there is basketball after March Madness. It's this thing called the NBA, and it's where Kentucky's freshmen go when other college players head home for summer vacation.
If you do all this and still find yourself in a funk, console yourself with this: Midnight Madness is less than six months away.
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