This ILLINI fan grew up with our kiddos and has transplanted himself to Tennessee. Anytime we are in Nashville area, if at all possible, we make sure to meet up and catch up with him.
His mama and I have traveled to Kenya twice and because of the way Kenyans pronounce their vowels, she will always be Meee-shell and I am Lah-ooh-rah. Our friendship between families goes waaaaaayyyy back.
Andy has been a faithful subscriber to the blog for many years and it blows me away every time I am reminded that he reads what I write daily.
Recently he shared a comment that was so eloquent I responded back that I appreciated his words so much but also wanted to encourage him to explore writing. I told him I would love to feature something he wrote as a guest post.
To my absolute delight, I received an email this morning with his submission for the kick off for March Madness. Andy loves basketball almost as much as he loves Jesus and you are in for a treat today.
Without further ado…I present Andy Peterson’s first official published post! and ironically…I actually have a photo that works perfectly with his piece of writing <3
David vs. Goliath: The Original Bracket Buster
Hi, I’m Andy.
I’m a 36-year-old single man with no kids — yes, a millennial!
Suffice it to say, I am the polar opposite of what I assume is the core demographic of readers of Laura’s blog. But I’m a longtime reader, first-time writer and am super excited (and equally nauseous anxious) of sharing today.
There are two seasons every year that I look forward to: Christmas, by celebrating Jesus’ arrival as well as enjoying the Christmas music; not to mention eating all the chocolate in my stocking on Christmas morning til I pass out, followed by ham and mashed potatoes for dinner!
The other season starts this week: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka “March Madness”.
The “Madness” part comes in the form of 63 games over three weekends — 32 in the first two days alone, meaning there are games I can watch on TV all day; now easier to accomplish since I work from home these days!
Millions of people fill out brackets in office pools or amongst friends thinking they can outsmart the media pundits and predict who’s going to win every game. It’s 15-point second-half comebacks, last-second shots, and big upsets, where the little schools have the chance to knock off some of the more heavily-favored big universities.
Take last year, for example.
On one side you have Kentucky, the bluest of blue bloods in the sport, 11 national championships, a roster filled with NBA prospects, a statewide, rabid fan base. On the other side there’s Saint Peter’s, a small Catholic school of only 2,000 undergraduates out of Jersey City, New Jersey. Their players are undersized and nowhere near as skilled as Kentucky’s players. Yet against all odds, the Peacocks (cool nickname!) are able to get the game into overtime, where they end up beating Kentucky. Next thing you know, Saint Peter’s would win two more games, becoming the first 15-seed to reach the Elite Eight. As the pundits would say, “A real ‘David beating Goliath’ story.”
Anyone who has grown up in church is familiar with the story, found in 1 Samuel 17, but I will give the Cliff notes version: Two groups, the Israelites and the Phillistines, just don’t like each other. They go to war constantly. This time, the Phillistines have their own “superstar”, a giant of a man named Goliath. He keeps dunking on everyone, trash talking the Israelite army with “Yo Momma” jokes and cursing out God. The soldiers want no part of him, except for this kid named David, who was sent by his father to check on his older brothers out on the front lines. He hears all this nonsense from Goliath, and David is having none of it. He faces off against Goliath and, using only a sling, strikes Goliath in between his eyes.
How did this boy have such confidence in going up against a grown man? From the story we learn:
- Be prepared to encounter any situation. David tells King Saul that as a shepherd, he had to save a sheep’s life by taking it out of the bear’s mouth and fighting back against the bear. As Christians, Scripture is our playbook, and through Jesus, we have a hotline to connect to God at any time.
- Be yourself. In preparing for battle, Saul gives David his armor so he can mirror Goliath’s armor. But since David is a boy trying to wear adult-sized armor, he can’t move well to function like he wants. By trying to copy the enemy’s tactics, we ignore the specific talents and abilities that God gives each one of us, setting ourselves up to fail. No “clap backs”.
- When we allow God to fight our battles and carry our burdens, the scales are tipped in His favor. The enemy is now the underdog.
Maybe your Goliath isn’t a heavyweight boxer or the Kentucky Wildcats.
Maybe it’s a strained relationship with a loved one.
Maybe your Goliath is the critic inside your head, telling you you’re not good enough and that you’re a fraud.
Fear not! God can and will forgive your sins of the past. With Jesus, the future has been decided, and it’s eternity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With our past redeemed and our future secure, we now have the freedom to confront the present, wherever you are now. Does that sound hopeful?
By the way, my Final Four picks are Purdue, Arizona, Texas, and Illinois.
Thanks for asking!
Andy…I think I speak for everyone who just read this that you definitely were ranked #1 for your thoughts.
Thank you for sharing them with us!