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the madness begins March 19, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Technology Trouble, Wasting Time.
Tags: , , , , , ,

According to a co-worker of mine who is into basketball, March Madness begins today (March 19), and CBS is streaming all the games online.

Ever year, CBS helpfully provides millions of at-work viewers with a Boss Button that will show a fake spreadsheet if a nosy supervisor is looking over their shoulder. There were a record 2.5 million-plus clicks on the button in 2008. This year, it will be brought to you by its first official sponsor: Comcast.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user magerleagues.

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user magerleagues.

Being that I’m not a basketball fan, and never have been, I don’t really understand the madness that overtakes many offices around this time of year. From what I’m told — and from the gigantic piece of paper tacked to the wall of the break room — there’s apparently 64 college basketball teams* that eliminate down to the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, and the Final Four, all leading to a single championship team. While this makes more sense than the whole polling-as-ranking nightmare that fans of college football face each year, I’m still not sure how the 64 teams get chosen.

I’m also not sure I understand why it’s such a big deal for people to bet on this. You fill out a bracket, give it along with $5 or $10 to one officially-sanctioned-unofficially-prohibited Person In Charge Of Betting At The Office, and wait and see who lasts the longest. Someone usually wins $100 to $300 — maybe more, in a big office — but y’know what the entire company wins as a whole?

A loss of productivity.

Between CBS’s streaming of all the games that occur during work hours, all the in-building televisions being tuned to CBS (we have a few TVs in the room where I work, and I’m sure at least two will show basketball), all the chatting about games that happened yesterday and games that will happen today and tomorrow, and worrying over brackets, it’s surprising that any work gets done during March Madness. Now, I have nothing against sports in principle — hell, I love sports, especially football and golf — but there are limits. As someone who has played fantasy sports before, I’ve occasionally** wiled*** away a good chunk of the day discussing the relative merits of #3 wide receivers with some of my co-workers, but the advantage to fantasy sports leagues is that they last a long time. March Madness is crammed into a few weeks, and during those few weeks, those who are invested in it do little else except worry about their brackets and figure out how they’re going to convince their wives or husbands to let them watch basketball all night instead of helping with the dishes or seeing what the mystery malady is on House.

Obviously a lot of things (like this blog) contribute to a lack of productivity. But March Madness is one of the most notable, and unlike many others, it has streaming video.

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* Apparently, these teams are comprised of basketball players who couldn’t get drafted right out of high school, or whose parents realized that a lot of high school phenoms don’t make it and having a degree would be really helpful.

** Okay, okay, it happens every year at least twice, but I try to confine it to my lunch breaks.

*** Whiled? Wiled? I can never remember.



1. the work pyramid « corporatespeak - July 24, 2009

[…] part… well, fantasy football season starts soon, and no fantasy sports activity except March Madness consumes so much time and energy, even more so if co-workers are playing against each other and […]

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