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Okay! Two days down. Three weeks to go. And our national holiday rolls on: March Madness!
I don’t remember when the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament became a national holiday season. I don’t remember when employers decreed that taking time away from professional tasks to fill out brackets was approved within Human Resource policy. I don’t remember when the Thursday and Friday of two weeks in mid-March became optional for workers.
Nevertheless, March Madness has become a National Pastime and the game is afoot. And, it’s truly inspiring!
Even the most inexperienced basketball fan can be a player when it comes to NCAA bracket contests. My daughter, now in 8th grade, has out-distanced attorneys, accountants, and architects on her way to Top Three finishes in the last two years. Many spouses, casual observers, and non-sports-fans have found a way to compete in their office pools. There is no H.R. strategy in the world that can keep the minions from competing against the millions in the milieu that is the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball contest.


Even the President of the United States has filled out his bracket and spoken about it everywhere from the Washington press gaggle to the Jay Leno show.
Here’s what gets my attention: somewhere between one and four years ago, each of these players was just a high school kid looking to get a college scholarship and the chance to play some ball. Now, their every shot, dribble, pass, rebound, foul, assist, and free throw affects the wagers and office pools of families across the country. And whether or not their make or miss is a winner comes down to a matter of someone’s bracket choice, rather than the loyalty to an alma mater.
I love that lots of us are interested. I love that it somehow brings us together in this season of “March Madness.” I just haven’t yet decided if I’m inspired or disgusted by the fact that countless college kids are providing nameless entertainment for bars full of bracket challengers who care much, much more about their office pool and beverage of choice rather than the student-athletes who’re playing for all they’re worth for the schools that have embraced them and are preparing them for their futures.

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