March Madness goes mainstream

Tawny Gestuvo

At the tail end of the Elite Eight, NCAA’s March Madness continues as betting pool hopefuls gather at their workplace to keep a close watch on their hand picked boxes.

For three weeks out of the year, employees across the nation congregate to fill their respective grids. The 65 college basketball team tournament is the breeding ground for gambling pools. Since their debut, innovative betting brackets have made their way to the mainstream.

In earlier years, this time consuming activity was carefully crafted and hand drawn by self proclaimed coordinators. In the final stages of construction, predictions would be added inviting individuals to mark their territory for a specified amount. Pools can now be found on the Web by way of Yahoo! Sports and These electronic alternatives have proven to be nifty and time efficient. If your office does not have a pool, you have no need to worry. Mainstream media has picked up on this once yearly necessity and almost anyone can join.

As creatures enthralled by instant gratification, this easy access has proven to be both a gift and a curse. Prospective participants can join with a few clicks of their mouse. First timers beware, if you are envisioning a freehand drawn grid on an 8×10 sheet of paper, you are sadly mistaken. With advancements in technology this pastime has reinvented itself and is here to stay. Obsessed with their boxes, people get scores on their cell phones, watch TV on their lunch break, tune in to the radio or engage in prediction box conversations. It is maddening and under normal circumstances, a time consuming feat.

CBS Sports who broadcasts the event has given, Yahoo! Sports, and the Sports Illustrated site permission to stream the tournament on the Web. Madness info is more accessible than ever to participants in the workplace. With the hype surrounding the tournament, employers have recently been accepting of this office nuisance. Rather than turning their cheek to unproductiveness, some employers welcome Madness enthusiasm to boost morale. They figure it happens anyway so why deny it.

As a method of socialization, the betting pool is almost something to look forward to. Breaking the monotony of working behind a desk or in a cubicle, March Madness pooling is an enjoyable release for some. It has the power to enhance conversations and lift spirits. Employers are beginning to soften up to this curse and are seeing it may be a good thing after all.

No matter the type of grid, paper or electronic, coordinated coverage is everywhere. It is the one time out of the year where some offices acknowledge undercover slacking off. Beckoning to a diverse crowd, this frenzy is not only limited to sports enthusiasts. The division one tournament sparks enough energy to get skeptics to join in on pools.

Testing their odds, people delve into the box buying madness at various costs. With the possibility of a handsome reward, (usually monetary) many find this annual pastime every bit necessary. With intricate Madness terminology and detail, team picks are crucial and not to be taken lightly. Each pool is unique, with various predictions. Some Web sites offer million dollar prizes for selecting a perfect bracket. Each prediction on the grid would have to be accurate. This is difficult and almost impossible to do.

As the Final Four creeps up, team picks are being shifted by media sports analysts and participants follow with a close eye. With numerous popular sites catering to this once yearly craze people are getting hooked. As the NCAA Tournament approaches the championship game it looks like office work will have to wait another week.