The woman next to me asked where I was from: three times. And where I was staying; twice. And how much did it cost: once. He partner on her right was feeding her drinks but the conversations she had with each of us never intersected. Kitty-corner a knot of forty-somethings were all turned toward a man decked out in sunglasses and sport shirt while holding forth with loud enthusiasm about all matters of sport, particularly those of a dozen years previous each of which had a marginal connection to him personally.

The bartender announced with pride that they had 42 beers on tap but could not enlighten me about the names of more than two.  My mission was simple and clear. Watch the basketball game and enjoy some bar food. That’s when I was reminded why they call them Buffalo Wings and not Florida Wings; lesson learned. Likewise the pint of Fat Tire was undistinguished but latter a Newcastle came to my rescue.

Upon arrival choosing my stool was problematic. There were none available with the game right in my face. I am a child of America and I want my sports events bright and big-screen. At The Alehouse I was forced to twist over my shoulder to catch the closest hi-def action. I should point out that this establishment had far, far too many screens to count. I stopped at 50. Over in one corner was a table of fans who threw up a rowdy cheer with each Syracuse basket. They had commandeered six TVs tuned to the same game so they were literally bathed in the light of the screens. Like a lemming – and uninvited – I abandoned my barstool and pulled up a chair like a late arriving relative at the family picnic.

Before long I was awash in a sea of high fives and mindless banter. Perfect.