Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 - One Shining Moment?

Well it is time to give my opinion on March Madness; the first 2 rounds are complete and we are down to the Sweet 16. It has been an exciting weekend of hoops and for some a heartbreaking weekend of hoops. Some of the favorites have shown their dominance and some have fallen by the wayside. Some of the lower seeds have shown why they were lower seeds, while others have shocked the hoops world.
Personally I thought I was doing well on my predictions the first day of the tourney. Then it all started to unravel. Day 2 brought some of the big upsets that very few people anticipated and many tourney brackets fell victim.

So how do you go about making predictions for the tourney? Why are some teams seeded higher than others? There are many thoughts that go into all of this and we see every year that even the smartest analyst cannot predict all the games accurately.

In fact I will go a step farther and make this claim: Very seldom does the best team in college basketball win the tourney… but the seeding is usually very accurate.

If you look back over the years of the tourney: only once has all four number 1 seeds been in the Final Four; only once has an overall number 1 seed won the title (they just began giving an overall seeding in 2004); never has a 16-seed beaten a 1 seed… and so on.

What the rankings/seedings do is give us a pretty good picture of consistency of teams; yet in a one-and-done format like this tournament there will be many upsets.

All of that to get to this week’s point. I believe the teams that win their conferences (especially the major conferences) have proven to be more successful than the team that wins the tourney. Winning the conference shows a steady consistency throughout the year. In sports we rely heavily on averages – the overall season shows the average of how a team plays. In the tourney a team that is not as good can have a great night while the stronger team struggles and an upset happens.

This year we had (2) “#15”-seeds beat “#2”-seeds. If you take those teams and play them in a series against one another, the higher seed will probably win 8 or 9 out of every 10 games. But the tourney is called March Madness for a reason – there is “madness.” Although the losses for the “#2”-seeds are devastating and heartbreaking, they do not diminish very successful seasons for those squads.

Coaches will often say, “we want to be playing our best basketball in March.” That is a solid goal; we should want to be getting better as the season progresses. Yet I don’t think it means the games in November are meaningless. The goal should be daily playing our best; success is realizing that our “best” should be ever-changing, growing.

In our Christian lives I would say it this way: Be your best today! Yes I hope we all keep growing, but our goal should be consistency, faithfulness, our “best” for the Lord today in everything we do! There will be times we stumble, but that should not cause us to forget or ignore a life of faithfulness.

Philippians 3:14 tells us to “press on” – a picture of faithfulness. Colossians 3:17 and 23 tells us to do everything in our lives as “unto the Lord.”

Proverbs 20: 6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man? 7 The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.

 In March Madness the goal according to all of the promotions is that “one shining moment.” Don’t allow that to be the way we view success in our lives.

All of that to say, I am not as concerned in our lives with individual moments of glory and greatness as I am with lives of faithfulness!