The madness is upon us….If you are anything like me, the dreams of the Billion Dollars that Warren Buffet was offering for a perfect bracket were quickly lost on the first night of the NCAA tournament. While the tears have subsided, this is truly one of my favorite times of the year. March Madness is only the beginning; the NFL draft is fast approaching, the weather is finally warming, school is coming to a close, and all of our hard work is starting to pay off. The next few weeks will be full of friends smack-talking each other’s NCAA brackets (I’ve got Duke winning it all over KU) and you might even be watching our Baylor Bears take it to Nebraska as you read this. But my favorite part about the NCAA tournament is how unbelievably unexpected some of the winning teams are, the “Cinderella’s” so to speak. Everybody loves (unless they’re beating your team) watching the underdog take it to the favored team, because there is a little part in all of us that wants “David” to beat “Goliath.”
Why do we resonate with the Cinderella’s? What is it about underdogs that tug and pull on our heartstrings? And most of all, why the heck am I rambling about all this on the Baylor Catholic Blog? I think that the “madness” of the NCAA tournament actually can teach us a little bit about our own human hearts. First, the tournament is “for all the marbles.” The winner is the national champion. Second, we have no idea how it is going to play out. Of the 11 million+ brackets filled out on espn.com, only 1.8% were still correct after only half of the games in the FIRST ROUND. And third, we love watching those underdogs achieve the “impossible.”
The fact that the tournament is for the championship is very similar to why people initially look into and investigate faith. If there really is an afterlife, heaven if you will, then figuring out how to get there is literally the most important question in our lives. The very fact that we are in the process of either “winning it all” or “coming up short” makes life extremely exciting.
Similarly, if we knew how every game would end, nobody would really care to watch, it would take so much of the fun out of it. Our lives are very similar. Every day, we will face circumstances and challenges, and just like games in the tournament, the outcome is completely unknown to us. This is so exciting!
Lastly, there is something inside us that loves watching underdogs win, and this makes a lot of sense when you think about humanity as a whole. You see, humans are created and destined for the greatness of eternal relationship with God. We are a basketball team that was literally designed and created to be the champion…FOREVER. Unfortunately, sin has broken our relationship with God, and we are now actually incapable of accomplishing the very thing we were created for. Luckily for us, God sent his only Son to save us, and make accomplishing our destiny a possibility again. But just like basketball teams in the tourney, we still need to accept this gift and make him our “coach” so to speak. When we accept this gift, and make Christ the center of our lives, we are just like the “cinderella” who goes all the way and wins the national championship. Against all the odds, in the face of all the sin and death, in the face of all the suffering, in the face of all of the “favored teams” in our lives, our savior, Jesus Christ, not only becomes our coach, but also a player on our team who will hit all the game-winning shots we let him take. Ultimately, the more we give him the ball, the more we let him shoot, the more we make him the center of our lives, the greater the glory will be when the tournament of our life ends with us “taking down the nets” and living in fulfillment with Him for eternity. CHAMPIONS FOREVER!