March Madness In May

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One comment we always hear every March is how the first two days of the NCAA Tournament are the two most unproductive days of the year in American business. It used to be that there would be an epidemic of “March Flu” as employees would mysteriously call in sick that Thursday and Friday to stay home and watch a basketball marathon.

With the birth of the internet, fewer sick calls would come in – but productivity fell just the same. Workers, who appeared to be engrossed in their work, were actually watching games online. Sites even had a “boss” button you could click to make the game magically disappear and be replaced by a bogus spreadsheet – or so I’ve been told.

This week, on a much smaller scale – we fans of the Verizon IndyCar Series are faced with a similar scenario. Every day this week, we are able to access the live feed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and watch practice from Noon until 6:00 EDT at IndyCar.com. Some may find that boring, but those of us that enjoy going to practice do not. There is something cathartic about sitting in the stands and just watching race cars go by at speed.

Unless you happen to live in central Indiana; that is hard to pull off during the week. Watching online is the next best thing – or so I’ve been told. Although I would never think of doing that on my current job, I was known to do it for years on my previous place of employment. To me, it was more mesmerizing than March Madness. Although I was sitting at my desk, I was magically transported 275 miles, straight up I-65 to IMS.

There are no announcers, other than the track PA. Years ago, I would be at my desk pretending to work, when Tom Carnegie’s voice would suddenly boom throughout the office. Today – if I were to pull up practice on my work computer or phone – I would hear Dave Calabro or Bob Jenkins describing the action.

I would spend hours watching a few cars go round and round – studying their various lines and driving styles. Sometimes, there would be a green-flag track with no cars on track. I was content to just sit and stare at the Pagoda or any other familiar looking structure. All the while; undone work sat untouched. “I’ll get to it next week”; I would tell myself. There were more important things occupying my thoughts.

Nowadays, I’m limited to watching a few minutes-worth on my phone at work during lunch. Have I matured and finally outgrown such antics at my ripe old age? No. It’s just that everyone at work knows how truly nutty I get during the Month of May and I’m being carefully watched.

So rest assured, there is no loss of productivity from me during work. Can I say that about the rest of you?

George Phillips

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11 Responses to “March Madness In May”

  1. Bent Wickerbill Says:

    Just the greatest being able to watch a bit at lunchtime, and or minimize and put the ear buds in and listen on and off during the afternoon..

  2. dzgroundedeffects Says:

    I actually have similar feelings to what you describe. Unlike March Madness or Masters Thursday and Friday, I’m been able to keep working on my computer, but simply listening and not watching. It’s almost as if I’m there with my eyes closed, grinning that silly grin we all get when the sound of Indycars going by seems to indicate that all is right in the world and I’m in the best place in the world.

    Apparently, part of my brain is listening and daydreaming of uncounted hours of leisurely sitting in the bleachers, beer in hand, absorbing the Sun, while the other brain bits can still keep my autonomic system working, and cranking through spreadsheets and CAD programs.

    I can say unabashedly that I don’t care if my productivity drops a bit now and again. As the owner of the business, it’s one of the features I accept in trade for the overstressed/non-slept times that come along. Fair enough.

  3. Doug gardner Says:

    I agree George. These first days at the track have hindered the work I do at my desk. Especially yesterday with the short day looming and everyone going at it hard.

  4. I wish there was at least a 30 minute re-cap show each night on television. I would be happier.

  5. Ron Ford Says:

    As I recently retired, being productive is way down on my daily priority list. So I have the track feed on all afternoon. While I don’t sit and watch it all that time, it is just nice to have it on and I’m grateful that I don’t have to stare at a telephone. IMS streaming is still sometimes marginal, but I am happy they have included that this year.

    It has been fun to see the Andretti boys playing tag. I must admit that I am a bit surprised to see Kurt Busch and Montoya get up to speed so quickly. Whether they can wring out those last few mph during qualifying remains to be seen.

  6. billytheskink Says:

    This is a week where having multiple monitors is a bigger advantage than usual. It’s also a week where the company’s “open work environment” is a real disadvantage…

  7. Ron Ford Says:

    I must admit that I also have on the IMS streaming feed from Gasoline Alley (ethanol alley just doesn’t have a ring to it). It is a stationary feed of folks coming and going, but it is addictive. Friends and family think I have lost it and perhaps so. I do get up now and then to go to the refrigerator.

  8. Ballyhoo Says:

    I don’t always have the opportunity to watch live, but I do check out my Indy app when I can. They did text me yesterday to announce that the session was called because of rain. I think Racer.com has been doing an admirable job of keeping us up to date. Hopefully the cite will be back up later today.

  9. SkipinSC Says:

    I have been a follower of this feed for several years. Used to LOVE hearing Tom Carnegie’s voice come across the speakers on my desk at work, which, since I owned the company, I limited to “Fast Friday” and Carb Day. (In my business, Memorial Day week was a pretty slow time as it came just AFTER the annual Harley Davidson “Bike Week” here in Myrtle Beach.) Of course, since I sold the company and retired, I’ve been GLUED to my home computer. (It sometimes drives my poor wife NUTS, since she’ll be chatting away when she comes in from work, not realizing I have my ear buds in.)

  10. I just started working for my father and will not have a computer until next week. This is killing me.

  11. Being a Hoosier, I would come home from school with a sunburn. Back when you had the whole “Month of May”. The sun, the wind, and the sounds of the Speedway. Always come back easily with a close of the eyes.

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