Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Zero Productivity Days

image When the first quarter GDP economic statistics are released later this spring, Commerce Department officials will gently cover up the the next week’s massive drop in national economic output using nebulous techniques called “exponential moving average” and “Latin Hypercube smoothing.”

A meeting that had been scheduled for 11:00 am today has been inexplicably postponed “until further notice.”

An office normally staffed with 40 dedicated employees had about 22 walk in the door this morning. Even the receptionist called in sick.

Just last week, not one of them had even heard of St. Bonaventure, and they thought Belmont was place for steaks. Or, horse races. Or, something other than basketball. But by midnight tomorrow, an awful lot of them will either rejoice or despair over the fact that one (or both) has wrecked half of the brackets in the pool with a run to the Sweet 16.

Welcome to March Madness, otherwise known as Zero Productivity Days.

They might as well declare the third Thursday and Friday in March national holidays and be done with it.

Note to athletic directors, compliance officers and sports information directors: If you have some rather embarrassing news to release, today or tomorrow would be a fantastic time to “doc dump.”

Even for die hard college football fans who don’t even get interested in basketball until sometime in mid-January, the next two days are the most fun entries on the sports calendar. Sure, the holiday bowl schedule is great but they’ve become so spread out that the intensity and excitement has waned. The bowl market is saturated. March Madness isn’t,

National (football) Signing Day is another big entry on the calendar, but in all honesty you have to be even more die-hard than the entire Popcorn Bowl television viewing audience to even come close to the excitement of the coming weekend.

For the second year, CBS is teaming up with Turner Broadcasting to make sure that every one of the 64 teams’ fans can watch their guys play in a live, tip-to-buzzer broadcast.

Finding things that the NCAA has done right is like finding federal programs that cost less than originally forecast and actually solve the problem they were intended to address. But like the rare success story in nightmare of bureaucracies, March Madness is a winner.

That naturally leads the BCS anarchists and multi-round playoff zealots to argue that if basketball can do it, so can football. Ignore those people.

For the next several days, just enjoy. And may your favorite team have its One Shining Moment.

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