by Oscar Archibald

Being chosen best man is both an honor and a curse. How else can you describe it? Think of yourself as the point guard on a basketball team - you run the show, make sure everyone is in the right position, and when the time is right, you deliver the rock to the big guy in the low post (a.k.a. - the groom). But a few bad decisions, some sloppy ball handling, and before you know it, the game has slipped away and you're sitting on the bench with a towel over your head, wondering what just happened. As the best man, what comes to mind as your most important contribution to the team? Well, if you ask the Front Office (a.k.a. - the bride), it's making sure the groom gets to the ceremony on time. Hard to argue with the logic there, or the eventual reward of groomsmen gifts.

But even though the Front Office pays the bills, your number one priority is to your teammates. And when it comes to being the best man, you're responsible for giving the groom a send-off reminiscent of Kareem's farewell tour. I'm not talking about your average beer/strippers/videos night out with the boys. This is one of your best friends who's about to enter into a life long commitment with his partner - you know, for better or for worse, richer, poorer, and all that. Doesn't he deserve more in thanks for years of friendship and undoubtedly fantastic groomsmen gifts?

Now think about your options here:

Home Game - There are definitely some benefits to planning a bachelor party in your city/town/borough/hamlet/village. You've got the advantages of knowing the groom's favorite haunts, ease of accessibility to whatever entertainment your area has to offer and the opportunity for most of his friends to participate. Transportation is usually a choice of a limo, van or Vinny's Dad's Suburban.

Away Game - Playing on the road is always tougher than playing in your own building. However, if you have a good game plan, and you execute well, a road victory is even sweeter. Your options are wide open: golf trip, Vegas/Atlantic City, camping, skiing - whatever the groom likes to do, you can find a unique place to do it, and he'll probably spring for interestingly-themed groomsmen gifts, too.

Granted, if you're planning an out of town event, some of the groom's friends might not be financially able to make it. But, the groom might have some out-of-town friends who will meet up with the group if the location is convenient. And on the plus side, a smaller group is easier to manage. Remember, as the best man, everyone is looking to you for direction (like Magic Johnson during the '80s).

And let's not forget the added advantage of being out of town: The entire bridal party, friends of the bride, family of the bride, work associates of the bride, and anyone who even remotely knows the bride are nowhere to be found. Think about that for a minute. If you live on the east coast, how about a Golf trip to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head? Maybe a road trip to Florida? (FYI, Tampa has the best strip clubs in the country; Miami's and Ft. Lauderdale's aren't too shabby, either). Does the groom have a favorite pro sports team? Take the group to see them play in another city. Are you west of the Mississippi? How about Palm Springs? Camping at Lake Tahoe? Skiing? Golfing with your new gold accessory groomsmen gifts? The possibilities are endless - be creative.

I leave you with two important details: First, make sure you plan everything out ahead of time, including the costs and who's going. As you might expect, the number of people attending affects the costs of accommodations, entertainment, food, transportation, etc. Secondly, don't hold the event right before the wedding. Whether you're in town or on the road, give the groom a chance to recover before he dons the penguin suit for the big game. He's already going to be sweating, pale and little queasy just thinking about the next 50 years of saying "yes, dear" to everything. Don't make it any worse than it already is.

Oscar is a self-proclaimed expert on bachelor parties, having planned four and attended way too many to count! When he's not drinking heavily and putting dollar bills in G-strings, Oscar works at an insurance company, and officiates high school basketball in West Virginia. His wife refers to him as the last gentleman on the planet. Go figure.