Beyond The Tournament

By Tony Price
Updated: March 24, 2009

BOSTON – March Madness has officially started the time of year when thousands of avid and casual fans are watching each game with the intense focus that serious investors exhibit when watching the ticker symbols scroll across.

Fans are monitoring the results of each game to see if there picks are holding up true to form or if their brackets just went Bust! Each year I tell myself that I’m not going to watch much of this hype driven hoop frenzy which is strange since I’m a college basketball coach.

Maybe it’s because at this point of the year I’m experiencing the wear and tear of a long season spent coaching my own squad.

Yet, the allure of watching the games somehow always creeps into my living room and before you know it, hours have passed and there I sit on the edge of my couch shouting at the television set offering coaching suggestions.

There is no question March Madness represents different things to different sectors of people for many it represents Big Business. Just look at the commercials in between games, same for merchandising, while some watch to familiarize themselves with the next generation of NBA stars.

Others watch because of school pride and lastly the games serve as a temporary diversion from the troubled economy. I on the other hand watch the games for another reason; I enjoy watching a collective group of individuals work together and demonstrate what you can achieve with preparation and Faith, not Luck despite the predictions of the experts.

This is the time of the year when millions of fans become familiar with a school or players who have flown under the radar screen for most of the season; we watch them become overnight heroes.

For me, the attraction of the games comes down to the unfolding story line “small school over achieves and defeats Big time University” Besides like many Americans I love cheering for the underdog and seeing the “nobody’s of the college basketball world” stick it to the Big Dogs.

There’s something exhilarating about watching that happen right before your eyes. There is also a spiritual principle we can learn through watching the triumphs of the Cinderella’s of the big dance.

I’m referencing a story found in the book of Numbers from the Bible, Chapter 13. It’s the story of Moses sending out a team of individuals to go and spy a land that was promised to his people.

The land was beautiful filled with resources a virtual paradise, however when the team returned the majority came back with a negative story based on Fear (they saw giants) and did not think they could overcome these mighty people to possess the land.

The naysayers spread their message of doubt and unbelief, amongst the rest of the people convincing them to give up their hopes and dreams of a better life, despite seeing evidence to the contrary.

But a couple of the spies came back with a different perspective, yes they saw the same giants the others witnessed, but they still believed they could win they knew they were prepared and the desire to taste victory was a strong enough motivating factor to press on.

Today, many of us face are facing scary and tumultuous times filled with uncertainty, yet the will to succeed and not live a life of fear has to be great enough to overcome the negative reports we are constantly bombarded with.

I encourage you not to succumb to the reports of the doomsayers. You have to adopt the same philosophy the small programs have that win in the NCAA Tournament, when no one else believes in you or gives you a chance.

Step onto the court of life with confidence and take your best shot!