For those unfamiliar with his famously withering diatribes, Craig Carton is New York City's barking, bombastic, loudmouth AM sports DJ (alongside Boomer Esiason) on radio WFAN, where he makes his living educating listeners. In the Big Apple, that usually means tearing into the Mets' stingy owner, or the Knicks' waifish defense, but often also entails calling out poseurs and callers to the show who simply do not know what they are talking about. The 44-year-old native New Yorker, whose upcoming book, 'Loudmouth,' comes out in June, is a veritable and imposing encyclopedia of sports arcana.
On the eve of March Madness and all that it implies – bouts of hysteria and depression, dramatic loss of productivity, obsessions with brackets by the general populace – it's a rough time for those gawking novices who would love a spot at the water cooler, but lack the sports knowledge chops. We caught up with Carton at a recent Guinness Happy Hour Event (to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation), where he revealed to us a secret to the art of talking sports smack: Half the battle is just sounding like you're smart. With a little prep work and some time on the Internet, any schmo can fake it till they make it, says Carton (though, he cautions, "if you're not a good memory guy, you're fucked."). Here are Carton's cramming tips for talking the talk, even if you can't tell a triple-double from a double dribble (and if you can, these tips are still pretty good for faking you way through almost anything).
Be a hometown hero.
Carton places trophy moments at the top of the pyramid for sports savants: "What are most people going to be talking about especially when they're drinking? What's the most iconic moment? You go right to the championship," he says. But rather than attempting to learn the entire history of the NCAA, Carton says to pick one of your local teams and then go bookworm on its big years. "You need to know every year that [the team] won a championship," he says. "Forever." You also need to know who the team beat, what the score was, "and one iconic fact of any aspect of that championship game," he says. This may seem like a tall order, but a quick Internet search will provide a list of championships accompanied by easy-to-remember highlights. Pick your town, search for the great teams, and get to work.
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