Thursday, March 20, 2014

Basketball And Billions

This is the day many American guys dream about; the opening of the men's NCAA basketball tourney. I have been busy today and have only paid attention here and there. This sporting phenomenon has a big impact on the economy in several ways. Bellow is the entry I wrote on March 16, 2006.

March Madness began today. The NCAA men's basketball tournament kicked off this afternoon with a field of sixty-four teams vying to win the national championship. The first day is always exciting. There was a bomb scare in San Diego before the Alabama-Marquette match up. There was a double overtime game and there were blowouts. My school, Westbury Christian, has three alumni playing in the tourney: J.D. Collins (West Virginia), Stanley Asumnu (Tennessee), Wendell Preadom (Wichita State). Stanley's face graced the ESPN website for awhile this evening- that was neat! I'm picking Duke to win it all this year. It's a safe choice. The Blue Devils have been ranked #1 in the polls for most of the season. Duke is akin to Notre Dame in football. The Dukies manage to be the most admired AND the most despised college program at the same time. You have to be good to be as hated as Duke.

In recent years, the popularity of the tournament has exploded. There is much to like about it. There is the David vs. Goliath angle: will we finally see a #16 seed topple a #1 seed? There is the euphoria of bands-cheerleaders-proud parents living and dying with every basket or turnover. There is unashamed weeping for joy and sobbing in grief. There is the reality of one and done- you lose, it's over. But there is another side of March Madness. It's estimated that as much as 2.4 billion dollars is wagered in office betting pools alone. A Chicago firm, working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates that US companies lose 3.8 billion dollars in productivity during the tournament. It used to be about finding a television to watch the games but now the Internet allows fans to keep tabs on the action from their workplace desk. Like everything in our culture, money drives the process, even in a sport that is theoretically amateur. Money is necessary but dangerous. I asked one of my students this question: If you suddenly became a millionaire, would it make you a better or worse person? The young lady, one of my favorites, honestly answered, "Worse." I asked if she would take the money, knowing the effect it would have on her. Of course she would. We all think we can handle it, that it is worth the risk. Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:10 that eagerness for wealth can cause us to lose our faith. Teachers at our school received a bonus in February, a nice and unexpected gift. As soon as I had the check, I began worrying about how to spend it. Jesus tells us not to worry but I didn't volunteer to give it back. I can handle it and I will put it to good use. In fact, I'm going to use it to but a computer to type these daily devotionals. You see, money won't change me. It's those greedy people, those lovers of money. I don't love it- I just like it alot!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is not enough."
Janwillem Van De Wetering

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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Jon said...

Duke is goin all the way!!!

LillyB said...

I still have a vision of the Basketball coach screaming at the team "DON'T YOU QUIT. DO NOT QUIT!" They were behind and acting defeated. He rallied them back for the win :)
Blessing and Cursing...the power of the tongue...
that was a true quote about greed as well. I had never heard it before!
Blessings! Lilly

LillyB said...

p.s. I hope you dont mind...I borrowed the quote for my facebook page! Please let me know if I have offended you.

LillyB said...

Oh no! I AM one of those people who would rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.(shaking my head) I really did not know that about myself...I am usually polite and respectful!! LOL