The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

March Madness excitement

I’m all for the March Madness tournament. I love Selection Sunday, and I honestly think that it should be a national holiday. Seeing the first round match-ups for the tournament is one of my favorite things to do and makes me love the month of March.

All of that being said, I have to believe that it is a distraction from work and school. From my own perspective it sure is. Sitting in a lab class on campus during the week leading up to “The Madness” there is no possible way for me not to print off a bracket and pencil in all those locks and upsets.

Now I can understand how some people don’t get the hype for the NCAA tournament, and maybe a majority of people around the country do not follow it very much.

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But for the people who do participate in it — a person like me, it runs our lives for a good week or two. 746,000 people filled out a bracket on last year according to their website. That is only one site that offers a competition for March Madness, there are also “Bracket Challenges” on ESPN, Yahoo! and many other sites.

During the week leading up to and into the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, one can hear whispers of bracket talk all around campus. Whispers of the big upsets that could be brewing along with whispers of who is going to win it all.

This March Madness talk can be heard in classes as well. In two of my classes already since the brackets have been released, students have been chastised by the teacher for not listening to lecture and talking about basketball instead (thank goodness it wasn’t me).

For the extreme March Madness, fans they will skip entire days of school to watch the tournament. Thursday and Friday action marks the start of the second round games (the four play-in games are technically called the first round this year).

Those two days will be the entire second round of games. Those games total 32 action-packed, storyline-filled, heart pounding action that some people will not be able to resist, therefore hindering their overall schoolwork in order to watch all of these games.

As for the workplace, I feel like there is just as much distraction there as in high schools or colleges. You always hear that there are office pools going around, and everyone is on their laptops, smart phones, tablets or whatever gadget they may have, watching every buzzer-beater and blowout.

ESPN3 has made it unbelievably easy to watch games in a browser from any type of mobile device, with up to five games being able to be watched at any given time. In offices, this is just the thing workers love to do around March Madness time.

I work at a restaurant here in Eau Claire and we already have a bracket pool set up, $20 buy-in and there are about 15 people signed up. If you do the math there, you will know that the winner will be taking home around $300.

You can’t tell me that during work when the cooks are supposed to be cooking and the servers serving that those workers won’t be gathered around the bar watching that big game that will make or break their bracket to see if they are going to win $300.

While I can never get too much of March Madness, it definitely causes a distraction in the classroom and workplace for millions of people every year. Countless amounts of brackets are filled out, minutes on the clock wasted and assignments forgotten about.

After all the arguments are dished out, is March Madness really worth all of the hype it gets every year?


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March Madness excitement