March Madness In May
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?