Tag Archives: Baylor University

Garage Door Woes and the Joys of March Madness

A little over an hour ago, the boy woke me from a light sleep by turning on my bedroom light and announcing, “The garage door won’t open.”

After a few ridiculous (and frustrating) questions, I jumped out of bed and joined him in the garage to inspect and to try the garage door.  It made noise, things moved, but the door did not open.

The boy needed to get to the bus at school for a speech meet.

We called the huz who had traveled to Sioux Falls, SD, as a board member for the Sioux Falls Seminary board meetings and inauguration of a new college president.  He gave us some ideas; we tried them.  None worked.  We gave up and moved on to getting the boy to the bus via his speech coach who graciously agreed.

We cannot predict when things are not going to work perfectly in our lives.

I relocated myself to the basement, snuggled into my fleece blanket on my chair, and chose my March Madness teams for the “Round-by-Round” bracket (free entry) as the third round starts in just a few hours.  After submitting a bracket with a good mixture of highly seeded teams as well as some Cinderella types, I clicked on the various other tabs to check out my standings in the brackets that matter – those in which I compete against people I might know or from which there is a prize.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I employed a few different techniques as a first ever March Madness bracketeer. Before the decision to engage in this social experiment, I pretty much knew absolutely nothing about NCAA basketball except that University of North Dakota and Baylor University are both Division I schools but in different conferences.

I chose a few different techniques to use for the Paladin Sports brackets (yes, brackets plural…I donated enough to ‘earn’ three brackets) but went out on my own to make decisions in other another bracket

I decided to do this as a way to donate to Paladin Sports in Arizona, but I have loved every minute of it! 

In the standings, I am currently sit in 47th and 50th (tied with myself) places. The only people doing worse than I…did not fill out their brackets at all.

My three techniques in the Paladin Sports league were as follows:

  • Bracket #1: Alphabetical – this has been an absolute disaster as not a single team that this technique predicted to be in the Final Four is even going into round three.
  • Bracket #2: Reverse Alpha – this technique is serving me better than straight alpha did, but it will not likely be a winner as Wofford is woe-fully not going to win.
  • Bracket #3: North over South – this technique is better than the first two, and I still have hopes that North Dakota State University will win it all…I am the only one in the league who predicted that!

I have a few take-aways from this experience that I thought I should share.

  1. If I choose a path or direction for an experience, I need to stick to that.  As I saw the final score of the Duke vs Mercer game posted, I checked my brackets and discovered that I had made a mistake on the reverse-alpha bracket. For some reason, I had clicked on Duke instead of Mercer.
  2. Sports are big business. I knew this before I engaged in this experiment, but I am more convinced of it than ever.  March Madness has at least four channels dedicated to the event ‘round the clock for a couple of weeks.  The money that flows into and because of college sports is incredible.  I need to process this more before I say anything else because I may regret what I say…it would likely be judgmental.
  3. Distraction is fun.
  4. I am smarter about sports than I thought! The bracket that I filled out with league run by the husband a colleague from work is doing better than the Paladin ones.  I went with my gut, did a bit of research, and chose teams I (or others I love) like.  That bracket could end up being a winner.  Sic’em, Bears!

The most important thing I have learned in this experience the key to choosing well in the March Madness brackets seem to be research and risk-taking. While I spent only a bit of time (in comparison to some) doing my research, it has paid off when I chose teams seeded #12 in the first round.  I also took some risks that have paid off.

While there are still several games to go, I am happy with my choices and am finding that bracket busting moments happen almost hourly in this madness.  If only those .2% of perfect bracket predictors could apply those predicting skills to the difficult things in life like when a child is going to get sick or when something is going to stop working.

Unfortunately, life does not work that way….or is that fortunately? What would we do if knew?

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Madness, Selection Sunday, and Jesus

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!


Filed under Relationships, Thoughts

The First College Tour

Yesterday was a huge day in my life as a mom.

We went on our first college tour as a family.

This week is spring break for my kiddos, and we made the long drive to Waco, TX, to visit family and to tour Baylor University.  The drive was a blast, and our trip has been great.

I need to clarify: both of my children will graduate next year.  Because of the strange way that our family has lived out its life, our kiddos are in the same grade even though they are a year apart by age.  While this has many benefits, I can see how the nest emptying out all in one graduation moment could have its difficulties (for me).

My kids growing up has been great, but it has been hard as well.  And this whole “college thing” just makes it even more real. There is nothing like being on a college tour to help you realize that time is flying by.

Step back for a minute….

The girl had visited Baylor University in August when she flew in to visit family.  I could not believe that she had gone on her first college tour without me.  She went with her aunt.  It was heart-breaking.  I’m a guidance counselor. And I’m her mother!

I gulped hard and was happy for her while at the same time I hurt for me.  She was so proud, as we took the tour yesterday, to tell us how much she already knew.

Letting her do the tour without me was just one of many huge steps to come.

And our tour yesterday was another example of a huge step.  I trailed behind the tour guide, did not ask a ton of questions, and was not “that parent” on the tour.  I am quite sure that the boy was happy about this as he thinks I am “that parent” on just about every occasion possible.

As I rode the tour bus, it dawned on me that there is no turning back.  They are in the midst of deciding the next step in their lives, and – though I can say what I want – the decision really must be theirs.

And this step will determine the course of their lives.

It is a big deal.

And I felt that big deal most of yesterday.  I felt it all…

I realize that this is something that I have to get used to feeling – a loss that isn’t a loss yet, a future on its way, and a whole new stage of parenting.  The way I parent today prepares them for this future, but I have to accept that the new stage is on its way and will change how we interact with each other in the next few years.

Yesterday was just part of the continuum, and it is all going fast.

Too fast.

In my mind, I can still see the cute little people who stood – in their cute little uniforms – in front of our flat’s door in  Edinburgh, Scotland, on their first day of school in 2001.

And yesterday they walked across the Baylor University campus as if they were ready to stay and participate.

What made yesterday so awesome?

  1. The kids had prepared by looking at the website a lot.
  2. The kids had looked at several other university and college websites so that they were able to make comparisons.
  3. We knew people in the area and at the school.
  4. The school gave the kids free t-shirts (you think I’m kidding? I’m not!).
  5. I tried to let them lead rather than to take control of the situation (note: tried).

I will spend the next eighteen months trying to let them lead rather than to take control of the situation….and that started yesterday…

If you have a junior in high school, how are you doing? If you have kiddos who have graduated, what was the most helpful in the college search?  What has been the hardest thing about your kids growing up?


Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Travel