I love to watch basketball anyway, but bring on the GO BIG OR GO HOME competition and I can’t get enough. Last year, I had wisdom and insight and brilliance to share. And this year, I have even more.
Watching March Madness always brings a reflection of the realties of life. Secretly that’s why so many people love it, even those who don’t normally watch basketball. March Madness is a distraction from what the world tries to sell us as what life “should” be like…when really, life is like this:
1. Like in this crazy college basketball tournament, SOMETIMES YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO WIN, BUT YOU LOSE. There is nothing I love to hear a sports commentator say more than the word “upset”. I will admit, I get choked up sometimes when the seniors on the bench start crying knowing it’s their last game. But it’s like that in life, too. We go into things expecting to finish well, or to get that promotion, or to take our dreams to the next level, and then life outscores us, and we lose.
2. The opposite is true as well. SOMETIMES WE LOSE, BUT THEN WE END UP WINNING. I love rooting for the underdog. It’s great to me when these teams come in and everyone expects them to be out first round, but then BOOM! And then that team, no one expects to win, makes it to round 2 and then 3. We know those moments, when it seems all the cards are stacked against us in life, but we find something inside to keep going, and we end up beating the situation, or getting that job and we even surprise ourselves!
3. One of the most amazing moments of Madness this year was FLORIDA v. WISCONSIN. The game was tied at the end of overtime. Florida inbounds the ball with just 2 seconds left. Wisconsin plans to let time run out so they can take the game into double overtime. But not Florida. Florida just kept playing to win. And on the buzzer, Chris Chiozza shot the ball for a 3 and Florida advances, and Wisconsin goes home. In life, we have to be like Chiozza: WE CAN NEVER, EVER GIVE UP. No matter how grim the circumstances may be, or how the ending seems to look…we can NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.
4. Winning in life doesn’t just happen. In real life, we aren’t handed trophies. Participation medals give us no feelings of satisfaction or accomplishment. WE HAVE TO FIGHT TO WIN.
5. Over 5 million people watch each round of March Madness. That’s a lot of eyes on these players. Every move they make is under the scrutiny and opinion of commentators, other coaches, classmates, strangers and trolls. But, hey, no pressure. In life, there are moments we feel EVERYONE IS WATCHING US. That no matter what we do, good or bad, we are being judged, graded, or criticized. That pressure can be overwhelming. Unlike these basketball games, often times we aren’t really being watched, but that doesn’t take way the fear that we are.
6. When Zac was 9 or so, I coached his basketball team. All it took was for me to coach one season to know that I was not cut out for that job. I struggled to put the right players in at the right time, and to keep myself from yelling at the refs, and even more so, to restrain myself from fighting with other coaches. I love watching the coaches during games as much as the players, because it’s a hard job. But the players from all of these schools need direction and guidance. They need someone yelling at refs for injustice, they need someone giving them a game plan. And just like them, in life, WE ALL NEED A COACH. ( Jesus is a great one! If you haven’t signed up for his team yet, you should check into it. If you have, and you haven’t let him actually coach you, you should probably stop trying to be the coach of your own life, because no one on your team is going to like you.)
7. Basketball is a team sport. Everyone has a job. When Zac plays, his job is to rebound and go right back up with the ball. He can’t do what the point guard does. Zac is 6ft tall, the point guard on his team is probably 4’5. (I witnessed him dribble through the legs of an opposing team member this past weekend, he is so short). We all have a place, and we can’t play the team sport of life alone. WE ALL NEED A TEAM to pass the ball to, to go in for us so we can rest, and to slap us on the butt when we’ve made a great play! Get you a team, and practice life with them, so when the big game comes, you know that you have each other’s backs and you are all working toward the same goal!
I busted my bracket the 1st Round. But I keep watching…. and in life, I will lose. I will fight, I will ride the bench. I will want to give up, and then I’ll hear my coach yell, “Push YOURSELF!” And in the end, I will win. I will win because while I’m on the journey, facing game after game, I know I’m on the right team. And that makes all the difference.
GO UNC! Who are you rooting for? What do you love the most about MARCH MADNESS?