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(Pr)ides of March: Yes, I take off work for NCAA tourney

  • Matt Mochow is a CNN assignment editor and avid sports fan
  • He says he proudly takes time off work to watch the big games -- and doesn't hide this reason from coworkers
(Pr)ides of March: Yes, I take off work for NCAA tourney

Editor’s note: Matthew Mochow is an assignment editor at CNN. He is on Twitter.

My father gave me some great advice when I was deciding on where to attend college. Despite not being a big sports fan himself, he knew my love of sports. He told me that no matter where I chose to go, try to pick a school that I could cheer for later in life.

I chose the University of Florida (which I'm sure many of you disagree with).

My senior year, the Gators made it to the Final Four. I stayed in Gainesville and anchored sports for our college news station while main anchor Erin Andrews -- yes, that Erin Andrews -- was at the game performing as part of the Gator dance team.

I was stuck in Gainesville and couldn’t make the trip to the game. After that, I vowed that if the Gators ever made it back to the Final Four, I would be there in person.

I moved to Atlanta to work for CNN more than 10 years ago and have made many return trips to Gainesville, as well as trips to Phoenix, Indianapolis and Miami for championship games.

I plan my time off around games.

Every year, I take off for certain events, including all home football games as well as the opening two days of March Madness.

I put in for the time off months in advance. My co-workers know I take the time off and I make no effort to hide the reason why: I love March Madness. I have 10 brackets filled out in various contests. I used a combination of my head and my heart to pick games. 

I go to a local bar for the first-round games (I refuse to acknowledge the "play-in games" as Round 1) on Thursday and Friday so I can watch multiple games on multiple screens at the same time, updating my brackets as each buzzer sounds.

This year, I have also requested time off for the Monday of the Final Four, since the game is here in Atlanta. Here's to hoping my heart beats my head just like back in 2007. 

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