in the midst of some basketball games

As you may know, I’m a big fan of the NCAA Tournament. As a fan of colleges in general, it gets me fired up to see 65 campus tribes on display for a few weeks. It’s a great time, as I’ve noted before, to call people’s attention to this amazing mission field; if they’re fans of the tournament, it’s pretty easy to bridge the conversation into what we get to do!

As I’ve been very much enjoying this year’s Tourney, I picked up a few things you might enjoy, too. Not all are ministry-related (but some are).

First, some facts that are of little importance but perhaps some interest:

  • I filled out 18 brackets this year, 10 of which are at ESPN and 3 of which are on Facebook. Except for two “pick-with-my-gut” brackets, I employed a weird, tedious, educated-but-chance-influenced method this year. It was actually pretty fun, and it gave me much more variation among my brackets.
  • Of my ESPN brackets, 2 are in the top 90 percentile (95.8 and 92.9), and 2 are – shockingly – under the FOURTH percentile (2.6 and 3.9). In many ways, it’s probably harder to make that many bad picks than to be in the 95th percentile… All in all, I don’t seem to be doing great, although several brackets have a lot of Possible Points Remaining – and that matters a lot.
  • Of the 16 teams remaining in the Tourney, I’ve had the marvelous blessing of visiting 14 of them. (Sadly, St. Mary’s and Butler haven’t made it into a trip yet.) Of the original 65, I have visited 45.

making the case for college ministry: If you missed it ’cause you were on Spring Break (or want to see the pictures I added a few days ago), I posted my 2010 edition of “Sixty-four: A Vision Trip.” It’s a short essay connecting the tournament with our campus “missionary” work. Hopefully it encourages you – and highlights the importance of college ministry to those who should support it!

those crazy tribe identities: Glen Davis sent me this awesome bracket of crazy mascot nicknames from a blog I’ve never read before. I’m including it because it’s really fun, but it’s also a chance to discuss the uniqueness of the students and campuses we serve!

Georgia Tech, fasting from cell phones, and community: This ESPN article about Georgia Tech’s players giving up their cell phones makes really valuable points about the benefits of putting that stuff on hold in any group trying to build community. Could be great for sharing how that stuff distracts your students from “real life” sometimes, as well as suggesting a policy you might want to introduce (like at a college ministry retreat, for instance). And it’s a pretty fun article. (After GT finished playing the other day, it was hilarious to see those guys texting away in the stands, too, since I knew they had been “abstaining.”)

the smarts of this year’s Tourney teams: Inside Higher Ed posted its fifth annual “Academic Performance Tournament,” which takes the same bracket as March Madness but advances teams based on the players’ academic achievements. While some low seeds like Holy Cross have won it all in the past, this year was very good for the #1 seeds… except for one, which faced a bitter loss in the first round.

A few more Tourney-related items: A recent story on some college ministry success at Syracuse. The newest WVU Mountaineer mascot is also the prez of FCA. And Athletes in Action apparently hosts an annual breakfast during the Final Four.

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