Pop Pop Epistle # 184 – Happy Birthday Ezra and About March Madness

Dear Ezra,

Happy Birthday #4 to you. And maybe you know this, maybe you don’t – but unless something drastically changes your birthday will always fall smack in the middle of what is known as March Madness. March Madness is three weeks of NCAA basketball madness at the end of March. It is a tournament that involves 64+ teams  – and if you are good enough or lucky enough to win 6 straight games then you are crowned the champion for the year.

You are fortunate enough (depending on how you feel about basketball) to grow up right in the epicenter of the madness. Three schools very close to you do their best to get to the tournament each year and 13 times in the last 66 years those teams have come away as champions (Duke – 5x, UNC – 6x, and NC State – 2x).

For a lot of people in our area basketball is more than just basketball. Basketball is their religion. Here are a few things that I mean by that:

  • Their identity is as a faithful follower of their team more so than as a faithful follower of Jesus.
  • They would never ever miss watching a game but they would not have a problem missing church.
  • They are physically and emotionally involved in watching their team play but find it difficult to engage in worship.
  • Conversations with friends are often about their team but rarely about God and their faith.
  • They have lots of clothing that reps their team but nothing that represents their relationship with God.
  • They can remember stats about players and teams from many years ago but can barely remember any Scripture verses.
  • You will often hear them beseeching God when a tight game is on the line but never hear them praying out loud when the church gathers for prayer.
  • They can make a bold argument for why their team is better than your team but have no idea how to make a compelling argument for the defense of the gospel.
  • Their joy is rooted in how their team is playing rather than in the blessed assurance that the Lord is always with them no matter what.

Even as I write this our three triangle teams have already been eliminated from this year’s tournament. Duke…gone in the second round. NC State…gone in the first round. And UNC didn’t even make it to the dance this year. Absolute madness.

But God is still on His throne.

May you never forget baby girl that no matter how much madness this world brings – basketball or otherwise – God is still on His throne.

And never forget that you are very loved,

Pop Pop

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