March Madness is coming. As has been our custom since the early days of the American Republic, we celebrate the advent of spring by skipping out on work to watch 417 basketball games at the nearest sports bar. Or we watch them on our phone while we pretend to pay attention in our meetings. Or we call in sick. The point is, we don’t work. According to a 2009 Microsoft survey, about 50 million of us will fill out brackets, and that act alone will cost American businesses about $1.2 billion in lost office productivity – although this week also tends to improve office morale, so that’s good.
However, for those of you who don’t care about sports and are wondering why everyone is talking about Wichita State when you’re pretty sure none of your colleagues are even from Kansas, here are a few things that should help you survive the annual ritual of basketballdom.
Yelling At The TV Is Therapeutic Or at least it feels like it is. I haven’t been able to find a study to support that. But we all know that yelling at our children and colleagues and spouses and home improvement projects usually doesn’t make us feel good. Yelling at the TV, though, probably releases superdorphins, which are even better than endorphins and which is a word that I made up. The point is, you should let your colleagues yell at the TV so they don’t yell at you instead.
Some Of The People You Work With Truly, Legitimately, Actually Believe They Are On The Team And you won’t be able to convince them otherwise. They’ll say things like, “We really destroyed Gonzaga last night” or “I don’t know what we’re going to do without Carter; he’s our best 3-point shooter.” If it sounds strange or oddly arrogant to you, refrain from asking how many points or assists the person speaking contributed during the season. All you’ll get is an angry, evil stare.
You Could Win $1 Billion – That’s completely true. Warren Buffett has pledged to give $1 billion to anyone who can correctly pick the winners of all 63 NCAA games. He did it to get attention, and it worked; people have been talking about it for weeks, and he’s definitely not going to give the money away. In the history of bracketology, nobody has ever come close to getting all 63 games right. The odds are somewhere around 1-in-5,000,000,000, which coincidentally are the exact odds of me waking up some morning to find out that I’m suddenly a pickle. But that’s not going to stop people from trying.
Hope that helps. So sometime this weekend, ask your colleagues if they’re about to win a billion dollars. When they say no, offer condolences. But if they look at you really intensely and suddenly get very quiet, you might offer to buy them a drink. You might be staring at a future billionaire, and you’ll want them to remember you when it comes time to give pocket change to their friends.
Click here to sign up for Jeff’s monthly e-mail newsletter to get more hilarious articles like this in your inbox.