Here are some things I learn about myself during March Madness which I think are general human principles:
1) We love sports because it gives us a chance to cheer for something larger than ourselves. We get so easily bored with life because we are so busy chasing after small, selfish pursuits.
Lesson 1: We were created for something much grander and more noble than personal happiness and comfort.
2) We love sports even more when you can band together with friends and watch the game. Any joy we experience in life is heightened when we can share that joy with others. Your team (Temple Owls or Cal Bears) winning a championship is one of the greatest (shared) highs in life.
Lesson 2: We were made for community.
3) We love Cinderellas — when a team from a small, no-name town takes on the giants and upsets them. A small group suffering together and getting each other’s backs when everyone else in the world is counting them out is what motivates players on that team to excel and reach their full potential.
Lesson 3: Jesus Christ and his band of Christians is the greatest Cinderella team that ever lived. They have a great coach and I think I feel a major upset coming…
4) For me, my bracket is already busted, but that’s okay. What’s more painful is the loss of my team — the Temple Owls. I grew up in Philly and have been loyal to this team for decades. This was our year to get back into the national spotlight. Even when Temple was down big in the second half to Cornell, I thought there would be a massive comeback at any moment. But the only come back is Temple, come back home because you were beaten up. The Owls have crash landed. Probably others are feeling pain over the loss of your favorite team. But one day, this owl will become an eagle who soars. For those whose team has been bounced from the tournament, better luck next year, or the year after, or the one after that…
Lesson 4: Hope endures.
5) Something about bandwagon fans rubs us die-hard fans the wrong way. These folks are eerily silent about their team until their team wins a big game. And suddenly, without warning, these previously uninterested fans become the loudest cheerleaders at the head of the pack. Something is wrong with this picture. Likewise, there are Christians out there who seem uninterested about Christ and the church until something big happens, and suddenly, they seem to be the biggest fans of Christ. Something is wrong with this picture.
Lesson 5: Don’t be a bandwagon Christian.