Big sporting events mean big excitement and big distractions


Andrew Volat

A Northwest High School student watches March Madness basketball a game in class.

Andrew Volat, Reporter

The first round of the NBA Playoffs starts tomorrow, April 15.  These massive sporting events are so exciting for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Last month, it was all about March Madness.  Humans all over the world made brackets and watched the games. The cultural significance is obvious and it is easy to understand why so many people love it. Unfortunately, these significant cultural moments are not just exciting, they are distracting and impact business and education.

A 2018 study found that 48% of employees work on their brackets during work. Additionally, the study noted a large increase in workers calling in sick during the tournament. At Northwest High School, students are often distracted from their classwork by the games.

So the question is, was there a decline in classwork productivity among Northwest students during March Madness this year? 

 Ms. Johnson, a Northwest English teacher, and avid Michigan State fan noted that March Madness served as a distraction to students, but did not see a decline in student productivity this year.

“It wasn’t as bad as the World Cup.” Ms. Johnson noted with a laugh. “During the World Cup, I would look around and everybody would be watching. Students definitely watched and paid attention to March Madness, but they were able to complete their class work for the most part.” 

Due to her students completing their work, and Michigan State’s surprise run to the Sweet Sixteen, it is safe to say that the tournament was quite enjoyable for Ms. Johnson. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Northwest social studies teacher Mr. Krempasky. 

Mr. Krempasky, a college basketball fanatic, filled out many brackets. Most of these brackets had either UCLA or Houston winning the tournament, as Mr. Krempasky believed these were the best two teams in the country. Sadly, both UCLA and Houston failed to make it past the Sweet Sixteen. To make matters worse for Mr. Krempasky, keeping students on task while games are going on has been a struggle. When asked if he noticed more students off task during the tournament, Mr. Krempasky said, “Yes, one-hundred-million percent.” Though Mr. Krempasky did share that many students improved in classwork productivity as the tournament progressed. 

 “After those first two days, there were fewer games and students recovered academically,” Mr. Krempasky stated.

March Madness was full of upsets, wild finishes, feel-good stories, and fun. This year’s tournament was won by UConn, who went on a magical run, winning many games in dramatic fashion. While many Northwest students were distracted by the excitement of March Madness, the tournament is now behind us. With AP exams approaching, this is a critical time of the year for students. Hopefully, Northwest students will be able to regain focus and find a healthy balance between completing schoolwork and having fun.