Burke and the Wolverines Gain New Life in the Sweet Sixteen

Originally, I thought I would close the computer to reflect on what this Easter weekend is truly about and maybe enjoy a little basketball on the side, but when Trey Burke hit his shot to give Michigan new life against the Kansas Jayhawks last night, I had to bring it up.  It’s just like Easter.  I have to bring it up!

BASKETBALL – How did Trey Burke save Michigan?

Jay Bilas mentions in his book Toughness that when he asked Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski what element of toughness is most underemphasized, his quick, direct response was “Persistence” – the ability to keep going without giving up or giving in.  That’s the element displayed by Burke and the Wolverines.  The other keys to take away from Burke’s post-game comments were:

1.  Practice sticking with it –  Burke said the Wolverines play from behind every day in practice so they know they can do it.

2.  Stay together – When facing difficult circumstances, teams that come together can do amazing things.

3.  Focus on the process – Burke’s remark that Michigan is not finished indicates the team still has more to accomplish and the Kansas win is one smaller part of that.

4.  Respond to the situation – Kansas limited Burke’s penetration early in the game, which meant he had to look for his teammates.  As the game progressed, Burke’s coach encouraged him to be more aggressive, which lead to the late game turnaround!

Michigan gained new life in those final three minutes of regulation and then sealed the deal in overtime.  I’m sure Big Blue fans, as well as coaches all over the country will be recounting this amazing comeback for years to come.  It’s an amazing story of redemption!

LIFE – Don’t we all need a little redemption?

I know this is an easy parallel to draw, so forgive me for stating the obvious.  I’m not trying to insult your intelligence or trivialize the struggles of life, but you have to love this story, right?  In this life we all will find moments when time is running out and we’re headed for trouble.  We all face those moments when we need to just hang in there, lean on our trusted sources of support, and respond to the situation.  We may have a relationship with struggles, an unstable job situation, or any number of frustrations that seem like we’re close to having the clock run out, but when we value persistence, more often than not we find ways to survive.  It may not always be like we planned or bring the exact results we want, but we can survive and we can grow.  For similar inspiration, take a look at ESPN’s fantastic 30 for 30 production of Survive and Advancethe story of both the 1983 NCAA Championship NC State team and the subsequent death of their coach, Jim Valvano (don’t worry, there’s a ton of material for future posts!).

FAITH – Waiting for Redemption

Most people know the story of this weekend.  As Christians we remember the death of our Savior Jesus on the cross and then celebrate the amazing story of His rising from the dead on Easter.  It’s the true story of redemption!  Trey Burke’s resurrecting the Wolverines pales in comparison.  Redemption, though, is what this weekend is all about, so I’m glad for the reminder and I’m anxious to see what Michigan does with their new life.

For me, this weekend provides the ultimate emotional roller coaster.  We feel the depths of despair on Friday as we recall the agony Jesus experienced for us, but then celebrate with the amazing story of His resurrection that provides new life fr ALL of us!  In the meantime, though, it’s Saturday and we have to wait.  We already know what will happen, but we have to wait.  In fact, that’s what life is – it’s Saturday.  I love Pastor Pete’s Wilson’s explanation Stuck In Saturday.  

As you wait through Saturday, enjoy some good basketball, but take a look at the true story of redemption and new life in Luke 23:44-24:12.