Sunday, March 12, 2017

2017 March Madness Files Are Ready!

Here we go, everyone! This year's much anticipated two-file March Madness pool manager spreadsheet system is out!

The system works the same as in previous years. There are two files: The first is the "master" spreadsheet, used by the pool organizer to track the results of everyone's picks vs. who actually wins, etc. This is where you determine how many points a correct pick in each of the rounds is worth, as well. Also, the pool manager can make his or her picks in this file, too. The second file is the simplified "individual picks" spreadsheet used by the participants in the pool to make their picks and send the file to the pool organizer to automatically pull their picks into the master.

You saw that right, folks! Both the individual picks spreadsheet AND the more complex "master" spreadsheet are FREE this year. For those of you new to my March Madness spreadsheets, I typically charge a nominal amount -- $2.00 -- for the "master" file. I alluded to the notion of making both free in my last post, and I've got an ulterior motive for doing so that I'll explain in a bit. The files are still both locked down and protected, and just as before, the master spreadsheet requires a "key code" to unlock its Excel_Geeky magic.

Like I began doing in 2015, I don't make you email me the "lock code" the file presents to you when you first open it and then email you back the corresponding "key code" to unlock the file. I've automated the process via a webpage. This year, however, you won't have to submit a PayPal payment to see the "key code".

What you need to do is the following:
  1. Download the "master" file by clicking on the link above.
  2. Open the file. Make sure you've got macros enabled. If you didn't have macros enabled when you first opened the file, enable them, then close and reopen the file, making sure to enable macros when prompted. If the file doesn't display a "Lock Code" when you open it, something didn't work right. Try again.
  3. Copy the "lock code" the file presents you.
  4. Paste that code into the "Lock Code" field found on this linked page. Be sure to delete any leading or trailing spaces/carriage returns added when you paste it. For some reason it normally adds an extra trailing space or carriage return. A valid "lock code" will contain no spaces -- leading, trailing, or otherwise.
  5. Click the "Submit" button.
  6. If you've done everything right, you'll be presented with the "key code" you'll need to activate the file.
  7. Copy and paste that code into the spreadsheet into the proper place, click submit, accept my terms and conditions, and you're off and running!
Again, if you don't paste in your Lock Code or if you do it with leading or trailing spaces, you won't receive a "Key Code" or you'll receive an invalid one, and you won't be able to unlock your file. Do not forget this part! One nice thing about me not charging for the file this year, I guess, is that you can always try again without having to pay again.

So...why have I all of a sudden decided to make the "master" file free this year? Simple. I'm hoping that by showing generosity, I can encourage some of you to do the same. You see, two of my close friends are facing a major hardship. Their names are Tracy and Rodney "Hot Rod" Nelson. Hot Rod was diagnosed several years ago with Parkinson's disease. He walks with a limp, drags one arm a bit, and suffers off and on from debilitating tremors. Sucks. right? Well, he hasn't let that get him down. Up until lately he's gone to work everyday, enjoys having beers with his friends and his wonderful wife, Tracy, and continues to pour his soul into his custom '71 Chevy pickup, participating in car show after car show. That's his passion.

Last November he came down with what was thought to be a common cold, but that ended up being pneumonia. On top of that doctors determined had a virus that was affecting his liver, heart and spleen. While in the hospital they further discovered that he had a mitral heart valve not closing and, in fact, he likely had two separate heart attacks in the couple months before. After further testing, they determined that he needed to have triple bypass surgery and a mitral valve replacement. Following the bypass and valve replacement surgery, Hot Rod had additional complications necessitating more surgery, this time on his small intestine. Following that surgery things were not going well. He had to be moved to the ICU, put on a ventilator, and induced into a coma. Things were bleak. Through the grace of God, Hot Rod pulled through. He made it out of the ICU, but still has a feeding tube for quite awhile. Rod's at home now and just passed his swallowing test, so he's on the mend. Again, this is all in addition to dealing with his Parkinson's.

Rodney has been off of work since December 5th and has actually been in the hospital since January 12th. Tracy carries their high-deductible health insurance through her job, though since she works for a government contractor, her job can be inconsistent and is often in limbo. Hot Rod and Tracy are dealing with many out of pocket costs, and their bills are quickly mounting. They've got a great group of friends and family to provide support, but with more and more medical expenses mounting and not knowing when or if he'll be able to return to work, it's going to take more than this support system to help them financially recover.

Hot Rod and Tracy are salt of the earth people who've never hesitated to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, and now they are need of many helping hands. Since you're not having to pay anything for this year's spreadsheet, if you'd be willing to give even a small amount to the GoFundMe page that was started on their behalf, we can start to make a dent in the financial mountain they'll have to climb. If that's not a possibility, if you could help share their story and that GoFundMe page via Facebook or Twitter or any other way you can, that would also be a great way to help. If enough Good Samaritan's learn of their situation, maybe, just maybe, a miracle can happen.

If you're unsure about contributing directly to the GoFundMe page, feel free to simply PayPal me whatever you think is a good contribution, and I'll gather up those donations and make one big contribution at the end.

Thank you and bless you for helping if you can, and best of luck during March Madness, everyone!