March Sadness

It is currently being estimated that businesses in the United States will lose $13 Billion in productivity during March Madness. Just in case you’re somehow oblivious to the term, March Madness, it’s related to college basketball. But even if you never paid attention to that world, the insanity has probably touched you in some way (sorry for the pun).

Since I, too, am somewhat insensible to the whole phenomenon, I pulled this description from the all-knowing Internet to help us out:

The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is a single-elimination tournament of 68 teams that compete in seven rounds for the national championship. The penultimate round is known as the Final Four, when (you guessed it) only four teams are left.

That’s it in a nutshell, folks. Somehow, it doesn’t sound quite so exciting when it’s laid out in simple black and white. Green, yellow, and red uniforms help enliven the entire matter, however, and people go nuts (hence, the madness).

Are You Insane?

The first such tournament was held back in 1939. That date even precedes my birth (which was quite a while ago), but I can’t remember it getting so insane until quite recently (that’s, lately, in dog years). We’ve gotten to the point, as I implied before, that it’s affecting almost everyone.

If business owners lose productivity during the days of March Madness, it’s because their employees are distracted by watching, listening to, and/or jawing about their team(s). But it’s a lot worse than that. Everyone seems to have a bracket.

I, personally, don’t have a bracket. In fact, I’ve never had a bracket. Still, every year, people ask me who I have in my bracket. I’m pretty sure you’ve all been inundated with bracket talk, so you probably know what that is.

In case you don’t, it’s literally an empty bracket in which you write (or type) your picks in order to gamble your money away. Sixty-seven games are played during this lunacy soaked mini-season. Even the most avid round-ball fan doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance. A hoops doofus like myself should not even try—that, in itself, would be madness.

Odds Are…

In case you don’t agree, I checked the odds for you. There are nine quintillion different bracket combinations—literally. That’s a nine followed by eighteen zeroes. It’s no wonder people don’t have time to work. They have to fill out (and follow) a lot of brackets in the hope that they can recoup their hard-earned dollars.

Things have gotten so bad that some politicians are contemplating making March Madness a national holiday. That sounds nice, but the tournament begins in mid-March. It extends into the second week in April. I like long vacations, but this might be a tad over the top.

I don’t know what the solution to all this could be. The Bible says that the “worker deserves his wages” (1 Timothy 5:18). Still, March Madness might present us with a worthy exception to that. Maybe these workers should donate their brackets to the owners.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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