Wide Angle

The National Championship of Social Distancing

Sixty-four quarantine activities enter. Who will win?

A fan of Netflix sits on his couch, wearing his Netflix jersey, waving his Netflix pennant, wearing a surgical mask
Can anyone defeat No. 2 seed Netflix?
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus and Netflix.

Among the many disappointments of this pandemic spring has been the disappearance of the NCAA national championship. For the first March in decades, America is suffering an acute bracket shortage. While our college basketball players sit at home, our nation’s gamblers, bracketologists, and procrastinators have little to occupy their minds. “March Madness” now describes our collective emotional state, rather than a glorious national distraction.

Slate to the rescue! Welcome to the National Championship of Social Distancing. Over the next few days, 64 competitors will battle it out to see which of our new quarantine-based preoccupations will reign supreme. What’s the best work-at-home activity, not changing out of your pajamas all day or getting interrupted by your pet during a video call? How are we panicking these days—by stress-eating or hoarding toilet paper? In our Family Regional, can anything defeat No. 1 seed unlimited screen time?

Visit @Slate on Twitter to vote on each matchup. We’ll update results all week, with our Final Four scheduled for Friday afternoon. Play along! Compete with your friends! Do not engage in high-fives!

The full The National Championship of Social Distancing bracket, featuring the Family Regional, the Leisure Regional, the Work Regional, and the Panicking Regional.
Slate/Getty Images Plus

Round 1

Family Regional

The Family Regional quadrant of The National Championship of Social Distancing bracket.
Slate/Getty Images Plus

No. 1 Unlimited screen time
vs.
No. 16 Attempting to teach seventh-grade math

Result:

No. 8 Family cooking lessons
vs.
No. 9 Family dance party

Result:

No. 5 Disney+
vs.
No. 12 Discovering your favorite childhood movies are not appropriate

Result:

No. 4 FaceTime with parents
vs.
No. 13 Arguing with uncles on Facebook

Result:

No. 6 Board games
vs.
No. 11 Adopting a pet

Result:

No. 3 Six-foot-distance play dates
vs.
No. 14 Quasi-educational apps

Result:

No. 7 Online learning
vs.
No. 10 Emailing tech support about online learning

Result:

No. 2 Yelling
vs.
No. 15 Apologizing

Result:

Work Regional

The Work Regional quadrant of The National Championship of Social Distancing bracket.
Slate/Getty Images Plus

No. 1 Making a video call
vs.
No. 16 Making a stupid bracket for your co-workers’ enjoyment

Result:

No. 8 Adding goofy background to video call
vs.
No. 9 Hurriedly doing makeup/hair before video call

Result:

No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day
vs.
No. 12 Talking to your boss while wearing a face filter

Result:

No. 4 Spending an entire conference call doing the dishes
vs.
No. 13 Arguing with partner/roommate about workspace

Result:

No. 6 Spending an entire conference call on the toilet
vs.
No. 11 Putting off a project “until this is all over”

Result:

No. 3 Cooking an elaborate lunch
vs.
No. 14 Starting emails “Hope you’re well!”

Result:

No. 7 Getting interrupted by pet/child during video call
vs.
No. 10 Two partners, two video calls, one office

Result:

No. 2 Canceling a standing meeting you’ve always hated
vs.
No. 15 Starting a podcast

Result:

Leisure Regional

The Leisure Regional quadrant of The National Championship of Social Distancing bracket.
Slate/Getty Images Plus

No. 1 Scrolling through Instagram
vs.
No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter

Result:

No. 8 Sex (partner)
vs.
No. 9 Sex (self)

Result:

No. 5 Video games
vs.
No. 12 Marijuana

Result:

No. 4 Taking a long bath
vs.
No. 13 Trying to read a book

Result:

No. 6 Riding a bike
vs.
No. 11 Long telephone calls

Result:

No. 3 Taking a walk
vs.
No. 14 Making funny quarantine TikToks

Result:

No. 7 Getting reacquainted with nature
vs.
No. 10 Listening to podcasts

Result:

No. 2 Netflix
vs.
No. 15 Starting your novel again

Result:

Panicking Regional

The Panicking Regional of The National Championship of Social Distancing bracket.
Slate/Getty Images Plus

No. 1 Stress-eating
vs.
No. 16 Checking your 401(k)

Result:

No. 8 Pacing
vs.
No. 9 Drinking

Result:

No. 5 Pleading with parents to stop going to the gym
vs.
No. 12 Taking your own temperature

Result:

No. 4 Hoarding toilet paper
vs.
No. 13 Ordering beans on the internet

Result:

No. 6 Bootlegging hand sanitizer
vs.
No. 11 Scolding people who are out having fun

Result:

No. 3 Refusing to get out of bed
vs.
No. 14 Spying on neighbors like in Rear Window

Result:

No. 7 Washing your hands again, just to be safe
vs.
No. 10 Yelling at the president

Result:

No. 2 Sharing dire warnings on Facebook
vs.
No. 15 Reacting calmly and appropriately to the situation

Result:

Round 2

Family Regional

No. 1 Unlimited screen time
vs.
No. 8 Family cooking lessons

Result:

No. 12 Discovering your favorite childhood movies are not appropriate
vs.
No. 4 FaceTime with parents

Result:

No. 6 Board games
vs.
No. 14  Quasi-educational apps

Result:

No. 7 Online learning
vs.
No. 2 Yelling

Result:

Work Regional

No. 16 Making a stupid bracket for your co-workers’ enjoyment
vs.
No. 9 Hurriedly doing makeup/hair before video call

Result:

No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day
vs.
No. 4 Spending an entire conference call doing the dishes

Result:

No. 11 Putting off a project “until this is all over”
vs.
No. 14 Starting emails “Hope you’re well!”

Result:

No. 7 Getting interrupted by pet/child during video call
vs.
No. 2 Canceling a standing meeting you’ve always hated

Result:

Leisure Regional

No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter
vs.
No. 8 Sex with partner

Result:

No. 5 Video games
vs.
No. 13 Trying to read a book

Result:

No. 6 Riding a bike
vs.
No. 3 Taking a walk

Result:

No. 10 Listening to podcasts
vs.
No. 2 Netflix

Result:

Panicking Regional

No. 1 Stress-eating
vs.
No. 9 Drinking

Result:

No. 5 Pleading with parents to stop going to the gym
vs.
No. 13 Ordering beans on the internet

Result:

No. 11 Scolding people who are out having fun
vs.
No. 3 Refusing to get out of bed

Result:

No. 10 Yelling at the president
vs.
No. 15 Reacting calmly and appropriately to the situation

Result:

The Sweet 16

Family Regional

No. 1 Unlimited screen time
vs.
No. 12 Discovering your favorite childhood movies are not appropriate

Result:

No. 6 Board games
vs.
No. 2 Yelling

Result:

Work Regional

No. 16 Making a stupid bracket for your co-workers’ enjoyment
vs.
No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day

Result:

No. 14 Starting emails “Hope you’re well!”
vs.
No. 2 Canceling a standing meeting you’ve always hated

Result:

Leisure Regional

No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter
vs.
No. 13 Trying to read a book

Result:

No. 3 Taking a walk
vs.
No. 2 Netflix

Result:

Panicking Regional

No. 1 Stress-eating
vs.
No. 5 Pleading with parents to stop going to the gym

Result:

No. 3 Refusing to get out of bed
vs.
No. 10 Yelling at the president

Result:

The Elite Eight

Family Regional Final

No. 1 Unlimited screen time
vs.
No. 6 Board games

Result:

Work Regional Final

No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day
vs.
No. 2 Canceling a standing meeting you’ve always hated

Result:

Leisure Regional Final

No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter
vs.
No. 3 Taking a walk

Result:

Panicking Regional Final

No. 1 Stress-eating
vs.
No. 10 Yelling at the president

Result:

The Final Four

A detail of the Final Four portion of the bracket
Slate/Getty Images Plus

Family vs. Work

No. 1 Unlimited screen time
vs.
No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day

Result:

Leisure vs. Panicking

No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter
vs.
No. 10 Yelling at the president

Result:

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Detail of Championship Game section of bracket
Slate/Getty Images Plus

No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day
vs.
No. 16 Scrolling through Twitter

Result:

Champion: No. 5 Not changing out of pajamas all day.

Thanks to all who participated in this year’s inaugural—and hopefully final—National Championship of Social Distancing.