We’ll Be Back Right After These Messages

With March Madness approaching you’ll be seeing a lot of non-stop basketball action. Somebody will shoot and miss, the ball will bounce off the rim and into the arms of an airborne defender who will spin in the other direction and launch the ball down the court before his Nikes touch the wood.

Throughout every game, points will come to allow the players to catch their breath and the game will transition into the biggest waste of your entire day: the commercial break.

Think about it, when was the last time you watched a commercial, saw something brand new, and were so excited that you went out and bought or used that product and/or service? At some point, we all probably have, but the other 99.9% do nothing for you.

So here’s reason #178 that baseball is the best sport: We know when the commercials are coming.

At least 17 times every game the third out of a half inning will be made. You now have 1 minute and 40 seconds to do whatever you want. Most people will dismiss this time, thinking it is just too short to do anything useful. They might grab a turkey sandwich and a Mountain Dew out of the kitchen (although you have to be quick to actually make the sandwich in such a time span).

Don’t do this. Because those little periods of time add up to almost a half-hour every game and those add up to around 80 hours over the summer.

80 hours is plenty of time to do something. So after the third out, take out your controller, push MUTE, and pick something:

  • Review your day’s To do List and update tomorrow’s.
  • Do some push-ups.
  • Do a Sporcle challenge.
  • Write a poem.
  • See how long you can hold a hand stand.
  • Look at your fantasy team’s stats.
  • Add up the inning totals on your scorecard.
  • Or the one I do: read.

Stephen King wrote about this between-inning period in Faithful (which you should read some time). He said he could read about two pages per break. Add that up and you are reading over 30 pages a night and you aren’t taking any more time than you usually would to watch the game.

I did this last season and he’s right. It works. You could probably get through most of the newspaper too, or quite a few blog posts.

But whatever it is you do, don’t just stare at the commercials.

Originally published on March 15, 2012 on McEffect.com