Monday, March 14, 2011

What I Miss About March Madness

I’m not much of a bracket guy, and I don’t miss the time in the office working over brackets with people. However I do miss the eight eights tournament that my boss used to run.

Once upon a time I worked at a small company where the owner was a huge college basketball fan. This week, after Selection Sunday, was basically a time when a section of the office, including all the IT staff, was shut down and working on the tournament. My boss engineered one of the biggest private tournament pools I knew, calling our customers, friends, getting 300-400 people to jump into a $20 pool with the top three people taking home large prizes. We were sending out tons of brackets on Mon/Tue and then manually grading these over the next 3 weeks. My boss would even bring in a TV to watch on Thur/Fri the first two weeks and we were allowed to go watch if we had time.

However the highlight was a private, 8 person only contest. Another $20 each, and the 8 from the previous year had the right of first refusal to participate again. New people were invitation only. My second year there someone dropped out and I was invited. The rules were simple. We draw numbers out of a hat for a draft order, and we go around the room, each person “picking” a team in the tournament.

Eight people, each gets eight picks. You get one point per win, and the most points after 3 weeks wins the entire pot, $160.

Not as profitable as winning the brackets, which would be over $1000, but much more fun. Small, intimate, only 8 people that you can harass and joke with for 3 weeks.

I played for 3 years, and it was great. One of the things I remember the most. I tried to organize one a few years later at a new company, but couldn’t get interest. I’d like to do one remotely, but the draft online might be hard to pull off. I might try it at SSC as it was a lot of fun in the past.

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