Today is a big day in this little social experiment I have going on with the hoopla of March Madness 2014. I am pretty much “all-in” when it comes to thinking about this.
Every time I have been in a restaurant this week (which has been more often than usual due to a pretty hectic schedule), I have paid more than usual attention to the televised last rounds of various conference games. In addition, I have followed a bunch of more sportsy-types on Twitter…and have actually paid a bit of attention to the Twitter feed.
And I started to care about March Madness hopefuls that are connected to my life – Baylor and the University of North Dakota. When the women’s teams won their championship conference games, I cheered (not too loudly because we wouldn’t want to be “outed” as a sports-concerned citizen). And when the men’s teams both lost their championship games last night, I wondered how this would impact my bracket selections this coming week…and if they would even make it past the Selection Sunday cut.
Oh, the madness!
The madness continues today with “Selection Sunday” – the day when the mad teams are announced. I just Googled information and found out that the announcement is tonight – phew, didn’t miss it yet!
How does this work? Good question…and I did not know the answer, so I figured maybe some readers did not either. So here – I will enlighten you.
- 32 teams get in because they are champions of their conference (think Big12 [Baylor], BigSky [University of North Dakota], etc.)
- The remaining teams are chosen by committees (one for women/one for men) who engage in bidding, drafting, and other sports terms that essentially sounds like voting to this girl
- The whole process takes nearly a week and culminates in Selection Sunday – today
Most bracketing “games” require that you submit your brackets by midnight on Wednesday, so you all know where I will be on Wednesday night!
Stacy’s bracket update: I have opted out of the Warren Buffet bracket (this seems like a big ploy by Quicken to get information about us so that they can contact us) but have chosen to add a bracket that is not a competition rather another experiment – round by round. It seems like a fun idea to get to choose the winners in this way. So – I only have to choose winners of games for the first round right now. Once those games end, I will have to choose winners of the the second round games. And so on…sounds fun to me.
Five brackets in total is the number on which I have landed.
As Kerry and I left a birthday party for a friend last night, I told him that I wanted to write about Selection Sunday today but turn the thought on its head a bit. All of this earning one’s way into the madness had me thinking on a Saturday night in lent about how glad I am that we do not earn our way into heaven.
Kerry had shared the big idea of today’s sermon with a friend attending the birthday party, and I had overhead him…while glancing at the television showing yet another conference championship game.
And I wondered what Selection Sunday would look like if we applied it to our faith lives.
Every now and then, I want to apply Selection Sunday techniques to my walk with the Lord. When I lose “a championship battle” in my life, I want to be able to convince God that I am still worthy of His love – ask him to look at my season overall rather than at just that one game. Or – when I win some battle in my life, I want to jump up and down and cheer at my accomplishments…and I often forget to acknowledge my coach.
But I am pretty sure if our lives were in the hands of a selection committee, we would all be surprised at the outcome of the bidding, the drafting, and the voting. If they analyzed the tape of our lives like they do the tapes of games, they would find the flaws that most of us only hide in our hearts…and few of us would make the cut into the madness itself.
And then remember – only one team is champion of this whole thing…if we applied the March Madness model, few of us would get to heaven…and the process to get there would be difficult with lots of work to get there.
Instead, God has made done the work for us…He has created the rules, has played the games, and has sent in His champion in our place. We could not even make the cut to get onto the team an play…so He set up His own bracket system.
And He shocked us all. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus.
PS: one of the shocking finds in my March Madness research was to discover that Christianity Today has one of the most comprehensive and understandable explanations of March Madness. When a co-worker and I were having a little giggle about this on a break this past week, I said ,”Well, Baylor claims that its aim is excellence because Jesus cares about excellence.” It makes sense, really. Sic’em, Bears!