THE UNDERDOG WINS!

Image of basketball players

January, February, Basketball, April…if you are a sports enthusiast, you probably know what this is in reference to: March Madness.  That special time of year somehow makes the dreary month of March in the Northeast come to life.  Millions can’t wait until that fatal week when the brackets overflow with hopeful anticipation for our favorite college teams. 

My son Ryan, who passed away from leukemia three years ago, was an incredible basketball player.  His favorite time of year was March Madness. Every year of high school he asked me to forge an excuse card stating he had a headache so he could stay home to watch the opening round of March Madness.

the hype of the competition

Why does this competition create such hype?  People young and old, no matter if they know basketball or not, take time to fill out a bracket and track their wins.  Or should I say multiple brackets?  Even my little second graders came running up to me this past week to tell me who will win the tournament. 

root for the underdogs

I think one reason is because of hope.  Many hope that their alma mater wins. Possibly even more people just crave to see the underdog come out on top; the small-town school that many never heard of before or the team that defies all odds and is victorious. March Madness gives us the opportunity to cheer for the underdogs knowing that anything is possible.  After the first round of 64 teams, most brackets are busted because the underdogs create upsets.  The hype gives us a renewed sense of optimism and faith in humanity.  We can cheer for our favorites and root for the underdogs without hesitation. 

the ultimate underdog

Jesus was the ultimate underdog. He was mocked and bullied.  People hated him and wanted him dead. Mark 14:65 reads, “Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!’ and the guards took him and beat him.”  But one thing to remember about an underdog is that he never gives up.  His determination and grit will continue to battle until the end. 

When Jesus died on the cross, many felt as if the victory was theirs, but that was not the end of the story.  Matthew 28:5-6 states, “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.'”

the cinderella story

In March Madness there can be the Cinderella story. A lower seeded team that advances on after a victory and makes a run to the Final Four. Intensity builds when this underdog team unexpectedly wins. Jesus was the ultimate Cinderella story. After dying on the cross, three days later He arose and continues to live today and forevermore. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

we are the champions

We already know Who wins the championship when our eyes are fixed on Jesus. Lucas Smith states, “In Christ’s victory over sin and death, we get to take part in the celebration parade that will never end. As we are marching in this parade of life, we have the opportunity to see others standing on the sides, tell them what and who we are celebrating, and bring them into the celebration with us. Although it may not seem like we are winning, it may not seem like things are good, Christ has won and because of that fact, we are the champions.”

One final note, I did sign Ryan’s excuse card but clearly stated he stayed home from school to watch March Madness.  Sometimes it is worth taking the unexcused absence.

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