March Madness is an excellent title for the entire complex phenomenon of brackets, pools, conversations, enthusiasm and dejection that will occur over the course of the next few weeks. This “madness” is expressed in part in the way that many people watch basketball. I may watch a game here or there if I stumble upon one in in the middle of the season. But suddenly March hits, and I am eager to act like I have a clue about basketball teams.
I fill out a bracket and get disappointed when teams I’ve never heard of lose. I cannot even match the state with each school in the tourney! It is for the most part good fun.
Aside from those with significant gambling problems I think most people just enjoy the time and online groups have the power to bring people together. And the power of sports and entertainment and all the big business surrounding it is certainly a powerful force in our culture.
God created us in His image. And if the creator creates someone like Him then they will at least be . . . creative. We invent sports, arts, culture, and a multitude of ways to interact over those sports, arts and cultures. And this is good.
But there is a madness found in the place where worship and the created thing intersect. I have seen grown men moved to tears over the loss or the victory of their favorites teams. I have been one of over 100,000 people in a stadium pulsing, swaying and chanting to the songs of MY team. I have experienced the live adrenaline of a crowd when MY team clinched a spot in the postseason. I have had things thrown at me because I was a visitor supporting the visiting team. I have seen the human heart’s tendency to worship through the avenue of sport.
The enjoyment of sport becomes a problem, only when it is used to accomplish something it cannot provide. It cannot provide lasting joy. It cannot give any sense of ultimate meaning. It cannot sustain us in dark times. It cannot even guarantee a passing happiness (ask any Lions fan . . . ).
Sport has its place right up there with any amusement and diversion. It is a delight that demonstrates God’s great common grace toward humanity. I am impressed by a monster dunk. I respect a man who lights up a key game from outside the arc carrying his team to victory. I find echoes of selflessness in the assist masters.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a game. To expect anything more, is madness!