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Beware the Ides of March


Well, it’s back like American Pie 8 (only this time it’s awesome): March Madness. That time of year when it is finally OK/encouraged to be a sports fan/gambler at work. The live streams will Flo like Progressive. The break room becomes the sports bar. The restroom becomes the locker room. Your boss becomes coach. Cherish these moments. This is your time to shine. All the hours spent secretly checking scores, reading articles, and tweeting on your iPhone while at work are finally about to pay serious dividends. Grab hold of that pen and paper and throw down your picks.

Thursday and Friday will be the two least productive work days of the year. They always are. The water coolers will be guarded by that guy boasting about how he picked Detroit over Kansas or how Creighton losing totally screwed his chances of winning back to back office-pool championships. No matter what, the tournament takes over. Conference calls are made only in reference to Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Big East, and Mountain West. Overtime is unpaid but everyone wants it. That “2:30 feeling?” Forget about it. Just ingest a small dosage of 2nd half action between Davidson and Louisville. If that doesn’t wake you up, well, there will be a bunch of other games on.

But for me, the standard bracket game has become a little old and tiresome. Sure, I’ll still fill one out because everyone else is doing it, but it just isn’t as much fun after you’ve picked a perfect bracket (2005). Since then, I’ve tried mixing it up by choosing my picks by mascot, team colors, and simply flipping a coin. But it isn’t the same. Thankfully, I have a solution for everyone looking to inject a little flavor into their madness. It promises to bring a new level excitement to your office, dormitory, and/or foursome.

Here is how you play:

-Get a group of four
-Agree on a wager (Dollar, Euro, or gold bullion work best)
-Determine a draft order
-Each person selects 16 teams (one of each seed)
-If one of your teams wins a game then you get points based on which round it is (1st round: 2 points, 2nd round: 3 points, Sweet Sixteen: 5 points, Elite Eight: 7 points, Final Four: 8 points, Champion: 10 points)
-Highest point total wins (obviously)

This game is a great way to liberate yourself from having to cheer for your bracket. I get so frustrated when someone pulls for Duke over Hampton just because they have the Blue Devils going to the Final Four. That is like cheering for Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine just because you predicted there would be six Star Wars movies. Get over it. Cheer for the underdog. You’ll be a better person for it. The underdogs are what make March Madness so great. March Madness is Bryce Drew diving on the floor after hitting the game-winning three for Valparaiso. March Madness is George Mason making the Final Four. March Madness is, or at least used to be, Gus Johnson screaming, “Batista with the caaatttchhh!!!” March Madness is now. Carpe diem.

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