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Creative March Madness Idea: Pinback Button Survivor Pool

It is the final week of February and you know what that least for all the sports fans out there: March Madness 2010 is just around the corner. Even if you are not an avid sports fan, you undoubtedly are familiar with March Madness. This is the term used to describe the month-long process of conference tournaments and then the 65-team national tournament that ultimately results in the crowning of a single champion in mens college basketball. It has been estimated that this yearly event costs businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity as employees research matchups to fill out their brackets for their office pools, check scores or watch games online, or are just generally distracted by all the talk of favorites, underdogs, upsets, and exciting moments. So what in the world does March Madness have to do with buttons? Well I'm glad you asked. Today, we are going give you a create idea for your office pool that - not surprisingly - involves buttons! There are typically two ways that NCAA Tournament pools are done:
  1. Everyone fills out a bracket, predicting winners for each of the 64 games that lead us to a champion. This can be done all at the beginning of the tournament or on a round-by-round basis.
  2. People draw or select a team or teams that are then designated as "theirs" throughout the course of the tournament. This is called an "elimination" or "survivor" pool because you are alive as long as your team or teams are alive.
The idea that we will suggest to you today involves the second of the two March Madness office pool options. kansas-buttonHere is how it works: First, you need to find an energetic craftsperson (or craftspersons) at your office to quarterback the creation of 65 individual pinback buttons - one for each team in the tournament. You can see an example to your right, a button for the Kansas Jayhawks (who will be a favorite headed into this year's tournament). Here are the supplies that your craftspeople will need: Once your button makers have their supplies, all they need to do is start creating buttons! The tutorials linked to above will show them the step-by-step process to turn an image of a logo into a button-ready graphic. The following video will show them how to use a button machine so that they can then easily and quickly turn the graphics and supplies into perfect pinback buttons. Once you have all of your buttons ready, put them in a big box and mix them up. The next step will then determine everyone's March Madness office pool fate. After paying their entry fee or not (depending on how you want to do it - for money or just for fun), have each person in your office choose a button. The team that they choose will be their team throughout the tournament. If you have less than 65 people participating, have everyone go around multiple times until all of the buttons are gone (or however you want to reconcile the difference). With the drawing done, now each person has the teams that will be with them until they are eliminated. Let's say that I choose Kansas and Kanas wins the tournament, then I win the pool! If Kansas gets upset in the Sweet 16, then my initial excitement at drawing a tournament favorite will quickly turn into disappointment as my dreams of a victory are dashed. The best part is this: each person wears their button as long as their team is still alive. This way, no one has to ask "Who do you have? And who do you have?" Everyone knows because it's their on their shirt or lapel! How easy is that? Imagine the pride that you'll be strutting around your office with if you draw a lower seeded team that somehow makes a Cinderella run to the Final Four - think George Mason from a few years ago. Even if you are not a college basketball fan, you'll have someone to cheer for and identify with. And everyone will have more fun because, well, buttons make everything more fun! If you have any ideas for how to we can make this idea better, please use the comment section and let us know. Whatever you do, try to jazz up your March Madness office pool this year. Do something different. And if you need an idea, we say that a pinback button survivor pool is the way to go!


* - Kansas pinback button photo credit: Brighid Brown - Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM

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