Each year we hear a report of how much the NCAA tournament will cost employers in lost productivity, and it's never good news for the people writing the checks.
This year, the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. (Can that be a real company's name?) has estimated employees will spend 8 million hours of work watching NCAA tournament games, costing employers an estimated $192 million in lost productivity.
Will I be a part of that?
Let me tell you a story.
I spent some time in my past as a sports editor, which means (in my mind anyway) watching the tournament was actually part of my job, so I wasn't costing anyone anything in my productivity.
Except for maybe those around me who possibly got sucked in to watching with me.
I'm not my brother's keeper, boss.
Go further back than that to my days at UPS, and I always took the first two days of the tournament off to hang out with my buddies, start drinking (sodas) at noon and watch a whole lot of basketball.
It was on one of those fateful days I first heard the term "You've been Pittsnogled!"
Ah, memories, memories.
It was the same in my college days. I would make sure not to miss a day of class in anything between the beginning of the semester and mid-March, knowing that the day the Madness broke out, I would be nowhere near a classroom.
Provided there wasn't a test. Damn those professors who schedule a test on a Thursday or Friday in March.
In 2003, we actually spent the opening day of the tournament switching between the first day of the tourney and news coverage of the second day of the Iraq War.
As strange as it may seem, memories of that war will always be intermingled with thoughts of Carmelo Anthony leading Syracuse to its first national title.
The mind works in mysterious ways.
It's a longstanding tradition to observe, this, my favorite of all sporting days -- from dorm room to living room to newsroom.
(Yes, I like the opening of the tournament more than the Super Bowl.)
Old habits are hard to break.
So if I'm again asked if I will be one of the workers wasting 8 million hours on something so trivial as basketball, I can only say ...
I have no idea what you are talking about.
By the way, New Mexico to win it all. You heard it here first.