I don’t know how many years I’ve filled out NCAA tournament brackets in hopes of guessing enough of the winners correctly to win some sort of prize. Maybe cash, maybe pride. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really won, except for maybe once, but then my roommates bowed out of their obligation and Repo Men hadn’t come out yet-so I had no idea you could take out organs as payment.
This year 10 of us from Redeemer joined up to do an on-line tourney that tallies everything up. Its quite nifty, actually. The plus side of filling out brackets and having a winner is that we’re all (or at least that’s the plan) going out to eat after the tourney is over. Well, that and the fact that you have a vested interest in seeing teams like Southwestern Wisconsin Tech vs. North Georgia Weslyean. Games that you would otherwise not care about become something special.
But there is a problem with filling out brackets and putting your hope in something of which you have absolutely control over: upsets. When you don’t pick an upset, like a 15 Robert Morris over 2 Villanova (which almost happened) or 14 Ohio University over 3 Georgetown (which did happen and eliminated one of my Elite 8 picks), you get, well, upset.
Instead of celebrating a “cinderella” type story like Ohio, you pull against it. Instead of seeing the beauty of an upset, against-all-odds-type story, you pull for the boring, standard outcome. Simply because that is the way you planned it.
It reminds me of life. There are probably a lot of beautiful “upsets” in life which I fail to rejoice in because the normal, boring, safe and expected outcome which I “picked,” doesn’t happen. But as I think about it, if life is only vanilla, and the outcome is only as expected, then I’d not experience the beauty of the cinderella-type upsets where God comes through against all odds.