Editor’s Note: March Madness is a United States basketball tournament. It is to college basketball as the World Cup is to soccer.
By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
What determines who won March Madness? Was it the most points scored? Was it the most money made by coaches and schools? Was it the TV ratings for a network? Was it the clever commercials? Was it Warren Buffet? Or could winning really be something else?
If it was the most points scored in the final game, UConn won the March Madness. If it is the most money made, the coaches and schools won, but the players lost. The four coaches in the Final Four are making an average of $3.1 million from their schools and will together make over $1 million dollars in bonuses covered by their contracts. It is estimated that each school who played in the “big dance” received a $1.5 million benefit. The NCAA could be a big winner as sports in college is an $11 billion business, twice as big as the NBA, larger than Major League Baseball, and unparallel to the NFL!
The TV ratings were “off the charts.” A network has to pay millions of dollars to get the rights to telecast the games. Warren Buffet was a genius when he offered a billion dollars to anyone who could submit a perfect bracket. I prided myself of knowing something about basketball and joined 12 million other people in filling out a bracket. I was already planning how to spend $1 billion!
I had to quickly change my financial planning after the fourth game of the first round. Ninety-five percent joined me after the first day. Before the first round was completed, everybody’s bracket had been busted – even President Obama. Buffet got a lot of free advertising.
I propose that the real winner was not UConn, or the coaches, or the NCAA, or the network, or Warren Buffet. All of these concepts of winning are very temporary. They will be forgotten pretty quickly. Real winning is what happens in the long run – the real big win – eternity!
I propose that Baylor won March Madness. That is right – the Baylor Bears. Nobody expected them to even be in the tournament. But they are the real winner. Jim Denison cites the following facts about Baylor from FOX Sports Southwest report entitled: “Baylor’s ‘extraordinary’ season has left lives changed.”
It begins with the Bears’ loss to Kansas February 4, 2014, their seventh defeat in eight games. Head coach Scott Drew stopped one of the team chaplains after the game and said, “We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that will be the real loss.”
Later in February, Kenny Chery, Baylor’s starting point guard, sat down in a hotel to talk to shooting guard Brady Heslip and assistant coach Tim Maloney. The two helped him give his life to Jesus. “I felt like I was a new person,” Chery said afterwards. “I felt like everything I’ve done bad in the past is gone. I’m starting new. I’ve accepted God into my life. The next morning I woke up, thanked God for waking me up, and I just had a whole new outlook.”
Taurean Prince plays forward on the team. On February 14, he told a chaplain he was miserable and didn’t want to live according to his plan anymore. The two prayed together, and then Prince invited Jesus into his life.
On February 25, 2014, Taurean Prince and Kenny Chery and three other players were baptized. Baylor lost in the Sweet Sixteen, but Coach Drew calls this his most important season ever. “Winning the game of life is a lot more rewarding than a 40-minute basketball game that’s so temporary,” he says. “To have an opportunity to help be a part of an impact on a young person’s life is the best feeling.”
The Baptist Baylor Bears (wish they were Methodist) cut down the most important nets and turned March Madness into March Gladness!
John Ed's posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4 4131 Carmichael Road Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
I spent the weekend in Huntsville, Alabama at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. That’s the literal part. The North Alabama mountains are absolutely gorgeous and I love spending any time I can in that beautiful country.
Now for the spiritual part. I got to spend a few days with my favorite student ever, Laurie Winfield Bishop. She is married to a wonderful Christian man and they have raised three beautiful and successful God-centered children, all now young adults. They are foster parents to Raeann, a beautiful 14-year-old. I have written about Winfield (that’s what I always called her, and she has always called me Sawyer–even in school.) and our special friendship before. To read about her and another one of my favorite students, click here.
Laurie and husband Lee and Raeann have busy lives and full schedules. But they made special time for me and we had a fantastic heart-felt reunion. Winfield said it was as if we had known each other for years and the friendship remains. What a blessing for me to get to spend time with her and her family.
The only downside for me was that I had to remember I have a former student who is now 48 years old. Oooooooh!
Friday night they took me to their small group Bible study with some other couples they meet with regularly. What a stimulating conversation we had in the book of Matthew.
It was one of two special mountain top experiences for me this weekend. I’ll write about my other mountain top experience in my other post today. Don’t miss it. In fact, click here to read it.
This is an amazing testimony to the power and faithfulness of God in a young man’s life.
It is well worth watching.
By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
I admire and appreciate coaches. They have such a huge influence on young people today. Someone has said, “If anybody gets a foot in the door with young people, it will probably have a cleat on it.”
I had the opportunity to lead the worship service in Nashville for the Continue reading
This is a true story.
The rain slashed across the highway in thick sheets. Dark. Cold.
She stood beside her broken-down sedan on the road side. She shielded her face from the driving rain hoping someone would stop and pick her up. She didn’t give herself much of a chance. She was a Black woman, on a lonely stretch of two-lane highway in the Alabama countryside. Continue reading
Dr. John Ed Mathison, my former senior pastor at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama for 36 years, now directs John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries. The purpose of the non-profit ministry, according to its mission statement is,
“first to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God. John Ed will accomplish this by speaking at churches, conferences, and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. He will also be participating in leadership activities within the United Methodist Church. One of the major goals of this ministry will be to give training opportunities for young pastors.”
One segment of John Ed’s leadership ministry is his blog. John Ed is one of the most effective, powerful and influential writers I have ever read. I found his website and his blog. I emailed him to ask if he would allow me to reprint some of his blog posts, and he agreed. I was overjoyed. Speechless. Excited to know you would get to share his writing.
John Ed’s style is conversational, compassionate and personal. He often interjects stories (some thought-provoking, some humorous, some sad, all good) of everyday people and their dilemmas, tragedies or victories. Then he relates his stories directly to the Gospel message and the Kingdom of God.
I have decided that each Thursday beginning next week, I will publish a post from John Ed’s blog. Here’s how much I respect John Ed’s writing and his unique ability to impact our lives with his writing: If you never read another blog of mine, read “. . .all for God’s glory” on Thursdays. I promise you his blog posts will bless you out of your socks. (You do wear socks when you read my blog, don’t you?) Whether you wear socks to be blessed out of or not, don’t miss John Ed’s messages we’ll publish Thursdays.
I’m troubled by what I see as an increase in the neologism, muslimophobia (fear of Muslims), in this country. It appears that many people associate the term Muslim with terror and terrorists. Any mention of Muslim activity for some, whether it be political, social or religious, ignites condemnation of all Muslims and fear of another nine-eleven attack.
The debate is over.
A U.S. District Judge ruled this week that a New Jersey university could not replace its women’s volleyball team with a cheer leading team because, in the judges words, “cheer leading is too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as an official collegiate sport,” Fox News reported on its website Thursday.