When it comes to the NCAA College Basketball tournament, everyone who fills out a bracket instantly becomes an invested fan. The bracket challenge is the game within the game that reels us all in. Even the people who haven’t watched college basketball all season are suddenly fans.
Their bosses suggest everyone fill out an office bracket to boost department morale. Or maybe they were persuaded by a friend who loves this time of year because he or she is the luckiest person ever (we refuse to believe their random picks and bracket success is merited on knowledge).
Maybe you are the basketball brain of the bunch and love the challenge filling out a bracket presents. Whoever and wherever you are, chances are by now you’ve already been pulled into the Madness of March!
Statistics from American Gaming Association and GfK Custom Research North America state this year an estimated 40 million Americans will fill out over 70 million college basketball brackets and bet more than $2 billion dollars.
Whether you put down any money with your bracket or you’re just playing for pride (like me), we have all invested something into this tournament, which means we will all be watching for our reward. I’m writing this article to give you one!
Now, I don’t have that one pick suggestion that will save your bracket when everyone else is throwing theres away. I have something better – a new Bracket Challenge that will change the way you watch major sporting events for ever.
First, it’s important to define how people normally watch major sporting events. Before the 2015 Super Bowl game, The National Retail Federation estimated that nearly 47 million people planned to host a party and an extra 13 million planned to travel to their local bar. Twitter reported more than 28.4 million global tweets were posted about the Super Bowl during the live telecast (from kickoff through 30 minutes after the game ended).
Additionally, Facebook calculated more than 65 million Super Bowl post during the game. These staggering numbers show that people enjoy sporting events together rather than apart. Whether they are connected through social media or in person, the comradery major sporting events produces is exactly the support system people need to complete this new Bracket Challenge.
So here’s the new Bracket Challenge. I will do 20 squats and 20 sit ups during each commercial break of every game I watch this March Madness season. These two exercises are my personal preference, but feel free to choose your own and set your own reps. It’s already much more simple than filling out a 68 team bracket right?
The real fun comes when this new Bracket Challenge sweeps across the social media spheres into house parties and March Madness gatherings. What if it created flash mobs of people in the local bars dropping down for 20 pushups? Stranger things have happened in bars. What if it were just crazy enough to inspire fans to actually engage in activity while watching the activity of sports?
In a Healthline News article last year, Is Super Bowl Sunday Bad for Your Health?, Jonathan Block highlighted some alarming numbers. “The Calorie Control Council projected that the average Super Bowl watcher will scarf down 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat in snacks alone… So Super Bowl snacking alone could account for well over half of your average daily calorie intake.” That’s just snacks! Those numbers don’t even include main course you will eat during the game festivities or the beverages or alcohol you will consume.
Now, I get that the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year. But, as the NCAA College Basketball brackets dwindle down to the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four, the tournament will have an expected 40 million invested fans (those who filled out brackets) with the same Super Bowl mindset centered around food and social gatherings to enjoy the games.
Instead of gripping on to our brackets, hoping this year to finally win the office pool, let’s have a new bracket challenge reward – exercising and healthy living.
The NCAA College Basketball Rules state there are at least nine commercial breaks in every TV broadcasted game and let’s add in halftime as an extended break. So in ten commercial breaks we will do 20 reps, totaling 200 sits up and 200 squats per game. That’s maximizing your return on investment. If you want to quantify the return in calories, you need only to go to CalorieLab to calculate how many calories you burned.
This past Super Bowl a friend of mine challenged me to participate in a similar exercise regimen during timeouts. It was competitive and very fun! My team didn’t win the Super Bowl, but the next morning I woke up still feeling accomplished. I realized you don’t have to compromise fitness just to enjoy a sporting event.
In the spirit of a fan, let the passion you have for sports fuel your personal activity. Take the new Bracket Challenge with me. For every game you watch, use the commercial breaks as workout opportunities. Invite your friends to join us. Pressure guests at your parties to participate, just like you pressured them into filling out a bracket. Share your March Madness workouts and let’s create a better reason to gather for the games.