My mom (and Shakespeare) used to wake me up as a teenager by turning on all the lights (at a VERY early morning hour) and yelling at the top of her lungs, "BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!"
This will be a generational thing as Karen and I will continue this time honored practice with Evangeline.
I love Springtime - if only because it gets me closer to my beloved Summer - the clear winner in "best time of the year." In the Spring, the earth remembers life again and green rules the day.
And there's basketball. Gentlemen, start your brackets!
Remember, there's a simple rule if you have two teams to choose from you've never seen or heard about. Don't just go by the rankings, there will always be Cinderella teams in the Dance. Prepare to choose the team with the more powerful mascot.
In the East, we have Illinois (seeded 7) vs. Colorado (seeded 10)
Colorado's mascot is the Buffalo. Buffalo (technically Bison) are strong, resilient, dangerous when angered and can run without stopping for more than 24 hours. Not to mention virile, there were 300 million of these puppies in the Plains States before we hunted them to extinction.
You know what Buffalo are as well as tough and implacable foes?
Delicious! They are delicious.
Yes, they fed the Native Americans for hundreds of years as they worked their way into boiled, jerked, salted and sauteed buffalo goodness.
Illinois knows this well, as the Fighting Illini (while separating themselves from their traditional Indian / Buffalo feasting mascot and symbol, Chief Illiniwek...) are still sporting the upper hand here, with mounts, firearms, charcoal, dry rub and bar-b-q sauce.
I understand the reason many schools are moving away from Native American imagery in their mascots and school logos.
But even the retirement of honored Illiniwek can't save the Buffaloes from their buffet of doom.
You watch, the Fighting Illini will bring the heat... and will use that heat to cook up a tasty side of Colorado stick to your rib dance goodness.
On a semi-serious note... why do we love the Dance? I think there are a few reasons:
- It is surprising. Who's going to win? With the turbulence the top ten has experienced this year, it could be any one of a dozen teams. No one is a safe bet... and it is fun to not know the outcome.
- An underdog always rises. And how can you NOT secretly cheer for the 15th seed that knocked off a number 1, 3 and 5 seed on their way to the Final Four? It speaks about hope... and our cherished belief that the little guy can do well.
- The mix of athletes is refreshing. Except for maybe Kentucky, you have a lot of collegiate players that won't go on to the NBA... so this is it. The kid who is talented, but who ultimately will make his career and mark in another field... will play his very heart out for his team mates and his school. That level of passion is inspiring.
- We remember our roots. Whether we went to college or not, we love our home teams don't we? They ground us in the memory of our family and youth and we want to see the people representing where we grew up do well.
All in all, these are good things. Life, hope, struggle, dreaming, hard work and success against the odds. It's the kind of thing that brings out the best of our interaction with life.
So breathe the Dance in deeply... and take a moment to reflect where God would lead you next.
He may have a bracket and path to your Atlanta that is surprising to everyone tuning in to watch.