I’ll admit it: I’m not what you’d call a sports nut; I’m more of a fair-weather fan. But I did fill out two brackets for this year’s March Madness at espn.com. Even if it’s not likely, I figured I could win $10,000-plus, a vested interest keeps me mildly plugged in to the NCAA tournament. And since I attended KU, home of the No. 1-seeded Jayhawks, I thought I’d show some school pride and pick them to win. (Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I didn’t attend a single game while living in Lawrence.)

But the real reason I’m pretending to care? Watching the games gives me a reason to go to Bars teeming with Boys who drink Beer: my three favorite B’s.

I watched Thursday’s games at Gaslight with a date. We drank Blue Moons during the OSU game, and chowed on soft pretzels and boneless buffalo chicken wings. We were there for about an hour before I realized my ex-date the doctor – whom I’ve renamed McMeanie – was sitting at a table right behind my date and me! Talk about awkward run-ins. Whenever he got up to use the restroom, he had to literally squeeze past me, shoulder to shoulder. We exchanged the requisite hellos, but that was about it. Frankly, I was caught completely off-guard. That’s the first time I’ve seen him since our five-week romance mysteriously fizzled in December. I guess if you’re going to run into an ex, it’s best to do it while you’re the one on a date. It almost felt like vindication.

Although I’m not Irish, I kept up the madness Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day. St. Pat’s is always the first day of the calendar year I allow myself to drink during daylight. I love day-drinking. There’s just something about the buzz you get while the sun is shining that’s so Chicago. Day-drinking is a guilty pleasure and a spring rite of passage – but don’t worry; it’s not something I do often.

Theband_2 This year my gang, a.k.a. Team Lush, headed to The Central in Wrigleyville, where we were able to score seating spacious enough to accommodate our entire group. It’s key to have a home base on a day as crazy as St. Pat’s. We started at noon with about six people, the core members, and ended up with about 40 folks over the course of a 10-hour day. Ten. Straight. Hours. Of drinking. I think I took my first shot of Jameson around 1 p.m. An Irish car bomb at 3 p.m. Jager shots around 4 p.m. Countless Heineken Lights. I started to lose track (we all did), until the bill came, which was somewhere around $1,500.

Of the 40 or so people who joined our party posse of singles, couples, and friends of friends, two were actually full-bred Irish; another said he was 10 percent. Not that it matters, since we were there to watch the games and wear green, like every other person in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day. Any excuse for a party …