[wolf_dropcap text=”I” font=”Montserrat”] have always looked forward to the month of March for the celebrated NCAA tournament commonly referred to as “March Madness”. Throughout late fall and winter, college teams across the country have battled rivals and adversity of all kind both on and off the hardwood. Long practices, workout sessions, film study, locker room chemistry balanced with rigorous academic study have either contributed to the thrill of a winning season, the ambivalence of an average season or the agony of a disappointing season. Every ounce of blood, sweat and tears was sacrificed for Selection Sunday, the day that teams learn their fate as participants of the 64 team tournament to determine the National Champion. For years, fans across the country have filled out tournament brackets as fun-filled tradition or for cash prizes. Even former president Barack Obama joined the excitement of completing a bracket during his eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue.
As a fan of basketball, it is amazing to see the nation’s powerhouses along with lesser known schools compete with everything on the line. Often, it seems as if the perennial Division 1 schools play at a major championship advantage; more team scholarships, coaches of greater notoriety, newer equipment and facilities, greater media visibility, better recruiting and a greater likelihood as a feeder to professional basketball. Nevertheless, there seems to always be an unexpected team that shocks the tournament and the nation to become a “Cinderella” story and ride an unprecedented wave of confidence into the elite eight or better. It seems that every conceivable odd is stacked against them, but somehow, the team leapfrogs statistics, battles through adversity and contradicts naysayers. Even when many people refused to believe in their team they refused to give up on themselves.
How many people have counted you out in your life? How many times have people assessed your origins and determined that the odds were stacked too high against you? How many times were you labeled not smart enough, pretty enough, wealthy enough, connected enough, educated enough or realistic enough to accomplish the tasks set before you? In this season of Lent, we are reminded that every earthly odd was stacked against our Savior and all of his followers. Very few people could imagine the victory that was on the other side of death’s tournament. I rejoice when I think about the goodness of God toward the Beulah Church. Many people said we would not be in a place of peace and harmony; yet, here we stand as winners! Rejoice and be glad!