It’s that time of year that sports fans love and bosses hate – March Madness!
For the past few days, smart workers have been hinting at itchy throats and bleary eyes just waiting to hatch fully on Thursday and Friday. More 6 a.m. voicemails with mock sneezes and gravelly voices will be left this week than the rest of the year combined. That paperwork you see being furiously filled out isn’t the spreadsheet for the Penske file you’ve been working on for two months, but rather one of many brackets completed in the quest to have bragging rights over your colleagues and friends.
The madness extends past just degenerate gamblers, though. Unless you are a university employee, when else are people going to talk about Gonzaga, Valparaiso or Belmont? How many headline writers are salivating at the chance to write “The Butler Did It!,” “Akron Zips To the Next Round,” or “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death?”
The tourney has Hilltoppers, Great Danes, Shockers, Badgers, Gators, a few Bulldogs, a couple Wildcats, Crusaders, Blue Devils and an Orange. Geography majors and college historians have learned things. Did you know there is a Florida Gulf Coast University? Pacific University is in Oregon, but not on the coast. The change of one letter in Iowa transports one from the cornfields of the heartland to Iona University in New Rochelle, N.Y., best known as being the setting for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Not only am I spouting off trivia now – I’m also showing my age!
Hospitality services love this time of year, too. Hotel capacity at tournament venues is almost always 100 percent. Bars and restaurants might have gotten a boost from St. Paddy’s Day this past weekend, but that momentum will ride high for the next three weeks. While it is true that Super Bowl Sunday and the Fourth of July are big food days, March Madness delivers the fullest plate, making March the month we consume the most chicken wings, pizza and chips and drink the most beer.
Papa John has millions of reasons to root for his hometown school of Louisville.
It is a tradition that is uniquely American. My foreign colleagues shake their heads at our fervor the same way I wonder how they manage to get two months of vacation every year. Brits can’t understand the allure until some soccer hooligan smashes a bottle over their heads to knock some sense into the cranium.
This is the time of year the underdog gets the spotlight and Cinderella isn’t just a Disney princess. The slipper almost always falls off and shatters into pieces, but we sure have a fun time waiting to see where it finally fits.
Reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to fit Bucknell for a slipper.