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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

8:00 AM, Mar 15, 2012 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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"Employers ought to embrace this. If you can’t beat them, you might as well join them,” John Challenger told Chicago's local Fox affiliate. “It’s a way of bringing people together. Everybody does it. It's really harmless." No, the jobs consultant isn't talking about an office key party, but rather the NCAA tournament pool. Yes, it is that time of year again. And yes, it's also that time of year when we read about all those millions of lost hours spent watching games and the hundreds of millions of dollars lost in productivity. But Challenger puts a positive spin on these next few weeks—it brings people together.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.0

According to the Fox-Chicago report, "Challenger said companies should actually look at that money as a good investment. As long as it doesn't get out of hand, a little March Madness can make employees very happy." Describe "out of hand"?

There are ways to cut down on those lost hours—try not to spend so much time on those pesky brackets either trying to get a crash course from John Feinstein's impressive regional analyses or simply second-guessing ourselves because we heard Syracuse's Big East defensive player of the year Fab Melo is suspended from the tourney. (Regarding the latter, the Orangemen have won tough games without Fab and lost one with him, so who knows?)

Or perhaps superstition and omens are your thing? Bad enough that Georgetown faces a very good team in Belmont, which is comprised mostly of seniors and which almost beat Duke in Durham. But now we learn the mascot Jack the Bulldog tore his ACL. Writes Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post: "A Georgetown athletics department spokesman told me that Jack went to the Selection Sunday festivities this week, but that he had to be carried and cannot navigate stairs on his own. Jack will visit a vet soon to find out whether surgery is needed."

Do yourself a favor and fill out that bracket and be done with it. Don't fret about which 12-5 upset will take place this year (Long Beach State over New Mexico or Harvard over Vanderbilt?). Even if you hate Duke, Lehigh is not going to beat them (but they could come close!). What ever happened to the Pac-12? Will the pool winner be someone who does not pick Kentucky? And why do I seem to be spending so much time on this blog item? (But if it's for work, should it not count as lost productivity?)

I'm with Challenger on this. Have fun—except when you really need to work—and Go Hoyas!

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