I don’t know a lot of Mennonites who enthusiastically follow college basketball. That could be because of my bias towards Canadian Mennonites. But I suspect that a lot of Mennonites just disapprove of the frivolity of grown-ups sitting around and obsessing about a bunch of college kids running up and down a basketball court.
Not that we disapprove of sport in general. For some branches of the faith, volleyball is a well-known and respected part of our mating rituals. And baseball is a time-honoured traditional element of the just about every Sunday School picnic in North America. Though I hear it is slowly being overtaken by soccer/football due to the globalizing Church.
And we have nothing in particular against basketball. My own Church has even spent at least two decades considering the possibility of putting up basketball nets in our parking lot. Not that it’s on the agenda every year. But from time to time. Which, you know, is something.
But March Madness isn’t about playing basketball. It’s about trying to guess which teams will win (suspiciously like gambling) and then watching the games (and who among of us are so unfrugal as to have cable TV so as to actually watch these college games?).
That’s all obviously problematic.
And yet. Being in the world but not of the world does not mean that we have to avoid all the fun. As an alternative to those worldly March Madness brackets, I have made up a specifically Mennonite bracket. I have split the teams into 4 divisions – Writers, Martyrs, Food and Songs. There are some clear front-runners and some that you might be surprised even made the tournament. I think that’s part of the madness.
I’ll be putting the pairs up on Twitter in sync with that other tournament and we’ll decide the winners in each pair by
consensus majority vote. So go ahead and download the brackets, fill them in and then follow along. And if you manage to pick the winner, there’s no real prize. And we don’t even really encourage bragging about it. But you can have a quiet moment of self satisfaction. Just not a long one.
Download the brackets to Menno March Madness bracket.
Round one is now complete. Come back next week for the Sweet Sixteen.
No cocktail this week – maybe I’ll come up with one when the tournament’s done.