DRAFT PARTY 101
So.. you want to have the ultimate Draft Party experience, but you don’t know how? Of course, you can buy a domestic magazine that suggests “healthy veggies for draft day” but let’s get serious. There are five things to set up in order to have that ultimate draft party experience, and it just so happens that I am more than happy to share the tricks of the trade:
(1) Every draft party needs the right group of friends – Ideally, you don’t want a dozen guys from the same team arguing over who the should or shouldn’t pick, and you would be wise to avoid too many division rivals. The best sized group is about eight to twelve, from various teams, with some maturity. Now, I’ve let a young and brash person in once or twice purely for the entertainment value, but the circus can get out of hand rapidly. If you are hosting the bash, comfort is a key consideration. six to eight will be enough friends to keep the laughter flowing, but not so much that a line forms outside the bathroom door.
(2) To enjoy a good draft party, you need great service and great food. This is NOT the night you want flat beer, soggy appetizers, or spending half the night tracking down your server. It might pinch your wallet to upgrade from the McDonald’s with playland, but it’s worth it. If you are going out for the evening, you might want to investigate a private room party. While the price is a little more, you are assured comfortable seating and privacy. Private rooms frequently come with a gratuity in the price, but reward excellent service. Keep the menu simple, a round of appetizers, a meal, and post meal appetizers to pass the time.
If you are brave enough to host one at your house, you can spend all day in the kitchen, or simply order take out. Despite the nutritional concerns, nothing is quite as savory on Draft night as bowls of chips, pretzels, and a few steaming hot and freshly delivered pizzas. If you are a strict orthodox Philadelphia draft connoisseur, you will have cheesesteaks on hand too. Treat the evening like a tailgate and cut loose with firing up the backyard barbecue. The draft might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but there is no reason the food should!
(3) A draft party can be fun, but make sure you do it in moderation. Unless the group is meeting for 30 minutes and disbanding, you are in it for the long haul. Don’t overdo anything. The best outings end up with everyone safe the next day. I like to ask everyone to contribute to a “cab fund” before the draft gets underway. If someone is a little too joyous through the course of the evening, they simply get a cab ride home that night. I deliver keys the next day, after everyone has slept it off. If the person is a designated driver, they get 50% of the cab fare for “delivery” service. That way everyone is safe and happy.
(4) To kill the clock, you can plan to entertain the group between picks with great games. Yes, believe it or not, to keep everyone’s interest you need to fill the void between team selections. There are any number of versions – from a small petty wager on “guess the next pick” to draft bingo where cliche phrases populate the card and you cover the block as they are used during the broadcast. A true test is trying to guess the team who makes the first draft day trade, guess the names of the draft prospects who are invited on day one but are not selected, and finally the number of teams who do not pick in each round.
(5) To take your draft party over the top, be sure to have ready access to hi tech supplements. You name it- I phone, android, laptops, notepads… all contribute mightily to the overall value of the evening. Ensure the site you plan to spend the evening supports wifi. Designate NFL conferences, or sports coverage, or even websites, so that you get as much coverage of the event as possible.
The bottom line is having lots of fun. Thanks to the early efforts of Mel Kiper and ESPN, we have another football related event to celebrate. Don’t waste the evening worrying about the player your team didn’t select. The final roster is still months away.