Today--tonight, actually--is the final night of March Matness, and that's not a typo. Because to those of us who love the oldest sport in the world--wrestling, it's the only NCAA Tournament in March that matters. I mean, you only need one ball to play basketball.
Add to that the fact that this year it was held in the "World's Most Famous Arena," Madison Square Garden, and the knowledge that there were a slew of local Jersey high school kids on the mats, and almost all the stars have aligned, especially if you hail from the region. It was time to add the final star.
So, after hearing various complaints about the price of a mainstream beer in MSG, I and some wrestling intelligentsia decided to meet at Foley's Pub just two blocks from the arena. Foley's has great food, amazing atmosphere and one hundred twenty-eight beers on the menu. I jumped on the North Jersey Coast Line train and, after paying a paltry $5.70 (Senior Citizen, you know), I headed into the Apple. We had arranged to meet in-between sessions at 3PM, which would give us some time to unwind and enjoy the special camaraderie and accompanying jargon that only wrestling fanatics understand before heading back for the semifinals at 7 PM.
|Amy, Bill and Kevin|
We enjoyed outstanding victuals, some amazing beers, brilliant banter and excellent company as we sat alongside wrestling nuts from Iowa, Penn State, Cornell and others. And the longer we stayed, the more crowded it got. Even Rutgers Prep's Coach Kacy and his lady Emily magically appeared, stealing half my bar pie before scurrying away to the bar.
|Rob Rego, Emily and Coach Kacy|
I stuck with Ommegang's Nirvana (an excellent IPA), and my mates had an array of beers which included Dark Truth and the obligatory Guinness among others. (Hey, it was an Irish pub on the day after St. Paddy's Day after all.) And after about two and a half hours, we made our way back to MSG, bellies full, to settle in for the night's wrestling.
|The Foley's Wrestling Crew|
But I resisted the urge, and got my senior citizen ticket from the machine for the ride back to the Bay City. As the ticket popped out, I noticed that my train was now boarding on the track next to me, so I went down and jumped on.
The last star had aligned. And home I rode with the fond memories of Foley's Pub, my favorite all-around Irish pub in NYC flashing through my mind, especially when Shaun Clancy reminded me not to make any spelling errors in the story.
|Shaun Clancy and Jim Koch|
I tolled hime I haddn't had enuff beirs for that.
Mebbe nexed tiem.