Grrr! The NCAA Office Pool

Shut up already!

Am I the only one sick and tired of hearing "the gang" at the office talking about who's winning the office NCAA March Madness pool?

"The gods were with me," said one colleague on Monday after "The Final Four" were determined over the weekend.

"I'm in first place but, uh, I'm down to, if UNC wins I'm gonna win, but if Louisville wins the guy in second place will win," he said, as if I really cared.

What's at stake?

Close to $1,000 for this guy's pool, but I've heard others, especially those in the financial district down on Wall Street, that can reach tens of thousands of dollars.

Can you imagine winning more in a college basketball pool than most people make in a year?

With those kinds of numbers, I can see why people join in. I mean, come on, fill in some grid that the office administrator ran off on the copy machine and you and yours can hit the slopes in Aspen or the Caribbean for a quick tan, reminiscing how Michigan State coach Tom Izzo's Spartans roughed up Coach K's Blue Devils while sipping pina coladas.

The NCAA Final Four pools are worse than the Super Bowl pool that pervades the office every winter. At least those who partake in the latter aren't as rabid as those who do the former. The Super Bowl is a great occasion, but something strange happens to adults when they're talking about college sports.

Somehow they revert back to their 19- and 20-year-old mentalities, when they were painting their faces blue and white and losing their voices every Friday night. And during every cutaway to those lovely cheerleaders, part of me can understand the hype.

But I'm not talking about the games or the participants or even the fans in the stands, bars or in their living rooms.

I'm talking about Stat Boy in the office.

I'm sure every workplace has one. Stat Boy comes in and recaps the previous night's action to anyone and everyone, especially the boss (the little kiss a^%). Stat Boy is so proud that three out of his four picks are still in it, and never mind that everybody within earshot has heard the same conversation 60 times — Grrr! — as Stat Boy calls everybody he knows and acts as excited on every call as he did on the first that he made at 9:01 a.m.

Stat Boy needs a spinning hook kick to his temple, but alas, that wouldn't be good for your career.

It's best to suck it up just one more week, and hope the guy's team wins. It's better to hear him tell happy stories than it is to hear how close he was to winning the pool, detailing every blocked shot, bad coaching decision and brick tossed — to 60 of his closest friends.

On CBS Sports ...

Since I'm on the subject, I had the opportunity to meet NCAA studio analysts Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis while visiting a few of my buddies at the Tiffany Network on Saturday.

For anybody who's been following March Madness coverage, you might want to know that Kellogg and Davis, along with host Greg Gumbel, are three of the nicest people in the business. They're knowledgeable, they're down to earth and they're all smooth as silk on the air.

Keep up the good work, gentlemen.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamer

This week's SLD mention goes out to the great athletes who make up "Real Pro Wrestling," a league devoted to the "amateur"-style wrestling to which high school, college and Olympic athletes dedicate so much time, energy and enthusiasm. In other words, it's wrestling without the "acting."

Real Pro Wrestling counts Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner among its announcers, and he's been making the media rounds. Click here to watch Gardner speak to FOX & Friends' Brian Kilmeade.

As a former wrestler, I hope this league catches on. Wrestling is a great sport, and the more people who understand it and follow it, the better it will be for everyone who loves it. Good luck.

PAGE 2>>>>> ... including an Oblivion 911 call about a cheeseburger.

Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine."

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