March Madness

Last month, I got to relive a true joy for March Madness. When you grow up in a small mid-western town whose love for basketball rivals that of the towns highlighted in the movie Hoosiers, you sort of realize that when March comes – so does a level excitement that is truly indescribable. I was visiting family back home when the opportunity arose for me to go with my dad to the local high school basketball game. Yes – you read right. When I say “March Madness,” I actually am thinking of the local high school. There was an electricity and deafening roar in the gymnasium as the home team ran out from the locker room – every person in the sold-out venue on their feet cheering madly. Forget that this is a small town high school venue…. this is basketball. And if you know the sport, you love it.

It is my last line here that has really had me thinking lately about why we love something. As I sat at the basketball game with my dad (who, by the way, keeps a tabulation record by hand as the game progresses so that he can statistically analyze each player/how each team did after the game), I got to listen to two elderly women who were sitting directly behind us. To give you the full picture, these ladies were what you might call “blue hairs”… senior citizens… one sporting a walking apparatus to help her get into the gymnasium and to her seat safely. Listening to them talk rivaled any commentator panel on ESPN (in fact – ESPN might want to consider hiring these two if not for their amazing knowledge, for the sheer entertainment value of two grandmothers/great-grandmothers analyzing the game). I heard conversations like, “Number 22 needs to box ‘em out after the ball is up.” “Yes – I noticed he’s letting number 55 and 23 get the rebounds...” “Look at Number 14. He’s hitting every shot from the top of the key.” These types of conversations went on all throughout the game. A couple of times my dad and I raised eyebrows at each other in our own agreement with what these two were observing. It was impressive.

Later, I asked my dad about the ladies. He had known them for some time since they were season ticket holders of seats behind my parents’ seats. They were pretty up there in age and, as far as he knew, had no family relation to any current playing team member. But they knew the game of basketball. They studied it and stayed up on it. And they loved it. When you study something and know it so well, like these two women, it is not hard to see why they love the game so much.

I wonder if those of us who want to follow God and trust Him and really live our lives as He designed us to work best might learn something from these two ladies. I mean, if we really studied the Bible and knew it and spent time talking with others about it and praying to God and practicing out what God tells us to do… I wonder if we wouldn’t see our love for Him grow? I wonder if we wouldn’t see our love for others grow. I wonder if we wouldn’t experience a newfound/deeper enjoyment of God Himself because we are getting to know His Word to us better…

Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“…do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

by His grace –Nikki