Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

Those who know me well know that I am a baseball fan. This time of year for me is taken up with thinking about the start of the season in April and watching the doings in spring training. (And btw Chris Carpenter pitched six scoreless innings yesterday which makes the Cardinals' prospects sound much better than I thought a mere four weeks ago.)

But it is hard not to get caught up in March Madness especially working in an office surrounded by sports fanatics. Men and women, although admittedly mostly men. During my entire working life, I have always ended up getting involved in March Madness conversations at work. But all my previous years have been nothing like the last few years. What changed? My office location. I am, literally, in the middle of things.

Like most offices we have an NCAA pool. In fact, we have two. There is the "real" pool for those who know what they are talking about. That pool is run by the guy who has the office next door to mine on the south side. I don't enter that pool because I haven't a clue what I'm talking about, but inevitably I end up talking to all the people who come by to talk to him about it. And that's nice because I get to see people from other floors who I don't often see the rest of the year.

The guy on the other side of me with the office to the north runs the "fun and collegiality building" pool, otherwise known as the "luck of the draw" pool. I enter that one because I don't need to know anything about any of the teams. I get a top seed draw and then I get one non-top seed draw from each of the divisions that my top seed draw isn't in. This year I have Syracuse going all the way. (I also have Dayton, Wisconsin and Chattanooga but no one expects any of them to really do it.)

So the past few days I've been surrounded by NCAA basketball fans and other people like me who stop by just to join in the fun and join the "luck of the draw" pool. And for the duration of the tournament they will continue to stop by and, while they wait for their pool leader to be available, they'll stick their heads in my office and talk to me. About basketball. And just about the time when I'll have heard enough to start to feel like I know something about all the teams, the whole thing will be over.

Some people think the whole thing is a waste of time - and admittedly there is probably a slow down in productivity during this period. But I think there is something to be said for the morale building aspect of having people come together - people from different departments, people in different types of jobs with different income levels, people who otherwise have different interests.

So .... go Syracuse!