Are You Ready For March Madness? You Should Be!

MD Terps BBall

Yeah, yeah yeah. I know. It’s still February. But March is right around the corner. And this college basketball season coincides with a presidential election year and as we all know, anything can happen.

Let’s check the political “standings,” shall we? Hilary is holding on and Bernie Sanders is holding out and Trump is winning and Bush is losing – er, what’s that? Wait, what? Bush pulled out of the race? Ohmygosh. The presidential election “preseason” pick to win it all just went down in flames. Apparently, America is in no mood for Bush III. There goes the far right republican response to the hot headed hooligan who’s running away with the popular vote; if you think what he says is “popular.” This, my friends, is politics’ version of March Madness.

Donald Trump is such a polarizing symbol. He’s become the non, negative extreme example and the pious, poster boy picture of what March Madness has come to mean to the political machine. In basketball, we’d call Trump an underdog. But he’s an apt allusion for a country that’s used to their front-runners winning and their favorites grinning and their unwanted waning and the forlorned fading into the background. But not anymore. The age of upsets has come to politics. So watch out.

All right already — enough of that politics stuff. Let’s get back to basketball. College basketball.

This college basketball season, the top seeds are falling and the bottom feeders are rising and there’s no clear cut favorite to win it all. It’s just about anybody’s race. You could argue that anyone of the top ten teams in the country can win the championship. Villanova is No. 1. Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia (Virginia?), Xavier, Michigan State and West Virginia all are in the Associated Press Top 10 Poll this week, (emphasis on THIS week) and anyone of them could win it all. OK, maybe not Virginia (Sorry Cavalier fans). And then there’s my Maryland Terrapins! That’s right, MY team! Let’s Go Terps!

So, who ya got? Who’s going to go all the way and go to the Final Four in Houston and cut down the nets? It could be my underachieving Maryland Men’s Basketball Team coached by Mark Turgeon. And if 23-5 is underachieving, then what does overachieving look like? What will the Terps look like when (not if) they put it all together and they REALLY start playing?

And that’s the lesson for the rest of us. We are doing OK most of the time, but then there comes the slip up and the hiccup and the hitch and the glitch that delays our destiny. So we have to do just like my Terrapins did against Michigan today: continue to battle through missteps and mistakes and stop doubting and keep believing. In other words, just hold on. It’s not over yet. Maryland can will it all. And spiritually speaking, you and I can too.

And I believe Maryland will. So there. I said it. And I mean it. And I’m ready for March Madness. Are you?

Slip Out Of The Slump

Melo In Slump

Maryland Terrapins Basketball: How Can Melo Trimble Get Out Of His Slump?

Melo Trimble is in trouble. Big trouble. Deep trouble. Trouble trouble. He’s in danger with a dilemma and a difficulty that he doesn’t seem to know how to fix. He can’t hit the side of a barn and his team needs him. The Terps desperately need their superman, super star, All American point guard to break out of his slump and put on that superman suit and start acting like a super, Super Man and quit acting like a marshmallow Clarke Kent.

Maryland needs Melo to make big shots and hit clutch shots in big games (and small games too, for that matter). The Terps need Melo to lead them and guide them and steer them in the right direction if they are to be anywhere near the great team we know they can be. There’s plenty of basketball left this season, and from here on out and down the stretch, no game is too small and no team is too insignificant. The fact that the Minnesota Golden Gophers were 0-13 in conference play before last night meant nothing. It’s that simple.

Melo is turning the ball over and making bad decisions and just not looking like the Melo Trimble we’ve all come to know and love. It’s sad to watch. It makes me mad to watch. But I’ll be glad to watch Melo march right out of this slump just in time for the Big Ten Tournament and March Madness.

It’s been a while since Melo has played to his potential. In the last two games, first against Wisconsin (AT HOME!) and then last night against Minnesota, Trimble was abysmal.  As I sat and watched in horror, with the game on the line, Trimble turned the ball over three possessions in a row.  First he had the ball stolen from him, then he threw up an anemic looking air ball, and THEN he dribbled the baseline and tried to tightrope the end line but instead went out of bounds.  My, my, my. Game, set match Minnesota.

What’s worst is that he’s lost his touch. Melo can’t hit a shot and can’t knock down a three and can’t stroke a jumper. It’s awful. And he looks awful. Something MUST wrong. Is it physical? Mental? Emotional? What is it? The coaches and the fans and the Maryland faithful are all stumped about the cause of the slump.

If you’ve ever slouched into a slump or been stuck in a rut or pitched into a ditch, you may know a little something about how to get in a funk. But it’s not getting in that we need help with; it’s getting out. Getting in is much easier than getting out, and that’s when we need a helping hand.

Spiritually speaking, we’ve all been in a slump. Long ones and short ones and dry ones and wry ones and dreary ones and weary ones. No two slumps are ever alike, but we’ve all been there. But the good news is that a slump is never eternal. Remember, setbacks are only setups for a comeback. Weeping only endures for a night. Joy is promised to come in the morning. Hallelujah!

During a slump, the key is to recognize that you are where you are. Don’t waste time blaming and complaining. You’re in a slump. Acknowledge it. But is that where you want to be? Of course not! So then you must take the proper and necessary steps to stop the bleeding and start the healing.

So, if you’ve got a good suggestion, please beep him or buzz him or text him or tweet him. Call or contact or page or petition, but by all means, if you’ve got an antidote for what ails my Terps and Mr. Melo, pray tell, please do speak up.

Winning Is Serious Fun

terps-7451072786 (1)

No one likes to lose and everyone wants to win. While it’s that simple, it’s not that easy. And as they say, “it’s easier said than done.”  Winning is fun; its serious fun. And fun, Biblically speaking, is “joy.” Joy is a positive attitude or pleasant emotion; it means delight.  The joy which the people of God should have is holy and pure. This joy rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of God.

It is a joy to win, and it is a downer to lose. In losing we learn life lessons. But there comes a time when it’s time to turn in the lessons, and receive a final grade.

No one likes to lose because losing means to slip and to slide, to fail and to flounder, to miss the mission and jettison the job. When you lose you obliterate the operation, but when you win you inaugurate the celebration. Winning cures everything. Winning cures what ails us. But in order to win we must consistently do and persistently say and voice the vision of victory.  Like my Maryland Terps did last night.

My Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball Team upset No. 5 Wisconsin last night, 59 -53 . It was a fantastic finish to a wonderful win. Dez Wells, Maryland’s senior star, consistently and persistently poked and prodded his teammates to victory.  He mandated that they could win; he pleaded that they should win; and in the end, he ensured that they would win. And win they did. And they had fun doing it, and the fans had fun celebrating it, as they rushed the court to celebrate after the final buzzer sounded.

Everyone wants to win. And Dez Wells does too. He scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists; not too shabby. Wells was the spark and the sparkle of the team. AND, I’m convinced that my Terps can play like that all of the time. Instead of being hot and cold and off and on, sometimes up and sometimes down, these Terps could be the best of the best most of the time.  The sky is the limit.

Winning like the Terps did last night makes one ponder and pose and consider and conceive – and even expect — how life would be if we played well all of the time. Just suppose; just imagine; just think of how good we could be if we hit on all cylinders at least MOST of the time? But alas, this season my Terps didn’t; and unfortunately they haven’t – played their best every game — but they could’ve.  And the same goes for all of the rest of us too.

Everyone wants to win and no one likes to lose. Because winning is serious. It’s means something and it matters everything. Why? Because winning is communicable and contagious; winning is transferable and transmittable; but so is losing. And the line and the limit between losing and winning are so thin you can barely see it with a magnifying glass.

Since everyone wants to win, and everyone is serious about winning, we strive for precision and perfection; we strive for faultless and flawless; we strive for the fantastic and the fanciful. We strive for Oscar-winning performances on and off the court. And with help from the Heavens, we hope to have happy, healthy, joyful and jovial endings to all, or at least most, of our games. It’s that serious.

And here’s an excerpt from Washington Post Sports Columnist Jason Ried’s article on the win:

“Recent signs indicate the Terrapins possess what it takes to have some fun in the NCAA tournament, and the biggest one occurred Tuesday night during a stirring 59-53 victory over formidable Wisconsin.”

“Dez Wells wouldn’t let us lose,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “Melo was Melo.”

“Picked 10th in the conference preseason poll, Maryland steadily has gained supporters. It’s easy to like an up-and-comer that seemed to come from nowhere. Guess who was ahead of the pack.”

“The victory was the Terrapins’ best of the season by far . . . “

And that’s serious, and that’s fun.