Today’s find: Court awareness
My beloved Saint Louis University Billikens won a big game last night—and I had the chance to be among those in the sell-out crowd, thanks to the generosity of one of my best friends in life. As it happens, his seats are directly behind the visiting team’s bench. Most games, that doesn’t matter much…because few of the “away” teams who play the Billikens ever muster much of a crowd.
Last night’s opponent, though, brought a sizeable contingent—several hundred VCU fans, clad in black…and seated right next to us in Section 116. In the basketball scheme-of-things, this game really mattered to them and to us—because at least for now, first place was at stake. And as the game wore on, I was struck by something kind of intriguing.
As we looked out onto the court, the two sets of fans were seeing the exact same events transpire. One group, clad in Billiken blue, often rose to their feet, stamping, clapping, cheering in delight. In contrast, the other group seemed positively morose: their daubers down, their spirits crushed, by a performance that fell well below their expectations.
That got me thinking about how much our perspectives can influence our experience of a particular event or encounter. We set our standards…adjust our vision to look for a specific outcome… and in the process, become less able to see.
I wonder if this sort of myopia is what Jesus had in mind when, in today’s Gospel reading (Luke 11: 29-32), he admonishes the crowd not to look for “signs.” He understands our human nature, and how we’re likely to be drawn to the regal splendor of a King Solomon…or perhaps to dramatic gestures of penance and self-mortification like the people of Nineveh. Don’t let your vision become so narrow, he seems to say, because “there is something greater than Solomon here”—in the person of Christ, in the example of his selfless love and in his gentle touch of forgiveness.
If Jesus had been a basketball coach, I suspect he would have emphasized court awareness. He would encourage us to see our little corner of the world with fresh eyes. He’d want us to examine our expectations, and perhaps challenge our disappointments. But mostly, he’d want us to understand how important it is that we work together, to make his kingdom come.
What’s a billiken? I love the theme for your post this morning. As you were writing, I was sweatting at Priory; having played … and won three games of basketball. Looking at my friend Mark as he announced his 60th birthday, “don’t get your dauber down,” I thought, because in Santa Rosa, CA, we played with a fella, 62. I love lent.
“Don’t get your dauber down…” Roger Craig, manager, San Francisco Giants.
I suspect Steve knows more about “Billikens” than he’s letting on. But here’s the official answer to his question, for those who are genuinely curious…
Remember even in victory, there is more work to be done.
I was unable to watch the Billikens on the tube but I did keep up with the score on my Smart Phone. I was able to watch the Missosuri Tigers beat the #5 team in the nation, now “formerly” #5 team. I would have preferred to watch SLU though.
I see lots of lessons for life in your blog!
For SLU, Have a goal, prepare for the game, stick to the plan, play as a team, give your best!
For VCU, read about SLU above and don’t come to SLU expecting to win.
For Mizzou, NEVER GIVE UP! Play to the end.
For Florida, Read all of the above words of wisdom. The NCAA is almost here!
benedict would call you a relativist 🙂 but no i agree w you w jesus we can broaden our vision and seeing jesus in all –even in those clad in black last night –it was fun sharing a great bills performance w you all last night -john
[…] maybe ‘court awareness’ isn’t the only lesson I am supposed to learn about holiness from the hardcourt this Lent. […]
Tidings of great joy in Billiken land…for those of you following along:
[…] fan of an underappreciated program could—why I tended to draw so much spiritual consolation from my beloved SLU Billikens whenever they succeeded on the […]
[…] top of the college basketball world? When our home court thundered and rocked with cheers…as the league’s biggest rivals came to […]