“It’s madness, madness, I tell you!” (… from the ever articulate, iconic Phoebe Buffay.)
With madness once more made manifest in a publicized, frenzied folly, the circumstances still strike me as incredibly encouraging and hopeful…
Two distinct groups, in direct opposition to one another.
The reality, that in the end, only one can win the top prize.
Each playing their hearts out, being incessantly aggressive.
In each other’s faces, but never profane.
Slamming bodies against one another, but never with an intent to harm.
Never sacrificing respect for others nor humility of self.
On Monday night, the Bears of Baylor University were winners of the 81st NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament — the first victory ever for the private Baptist school in Waco, Texas.
Scott Drew is the team’s head coach — a man who came with a minimal resume to an unquestionable mess 18 years ago. It was the summer of 2003, when a Baylor player went missing for a month. He was later found to be shot and killed. By a fellow player. Only weeks later, rumors of significant NCAA violations began to surface, which would later be proven and true. The coach would quit. In came Drew.
In his very first press conference in the halfway between Dallas and Austin, Texas town, Drew said the following:
“At Baylor University, I did not come to go to the NCAA tournament. We came to win games at the NCAA tournament. We came with the chance to win a national championship at Baylor University. We have the resources. We have the people. We have the leadership. And I think we have the family atmosphere to do it down here. And that’s my goal in the next few years to bring Baylor to that forefront.
Now America does love the little guys. And this is definitely a David vs. Goliath situation. And it might take some time. But I can tell you this: our staff will have the work ethic, the integrity, and the commitment to success needed to get this program where it needs to go.”
I love how he emphasizes work ethnic, integrity and “the little guys.” Yes, Baylor does have the leadership.
I appreciate Drew’s continued thinking, shared in Monday’s post-game press conference…
“To me, (winning a championship) never defines a great coach. Just like there’s so many players, NBA players who never won an NBA championship and great college players that never went to a Final Four. I value coaches. Do they make their players better spiritually, academically, character-wise? Are you preparing them for life?”
Drew seems to grasp the bigger picture, never allowing the magnitude of a moment to minimize his moral code. Perceived success doesn’t seem to cause him to become more self-focused nor justify disrespect to any opponent. He knows there is bigger, better, and more. That’s what he’s been teaching and modeling to his players.
After soundly defeating the previously-unbeaten Gonzaga University Monday night — with multiple coaches and players from both teams congratulating one another on each of their successful seasons — the Baylor Bears, black and white, arms around one another, knelt together in prayer. They took a moment to bow and give thanks for all God has done, win or lose.
They maintained their humility.
They kept their respect for everyone else around them.
No matter the madness. No matter the fierceness of the competition. No matter how much they wanted to win.
That is something from which each of us can learn.