If you are a fan of NCAA college basketball — especially March Madness — you have likely heard of Loyola-Chicago’s biggest fan and cheerleader, Sister Jean. Today, Sister Jean — who is also Loyola-Chicago’s chaplain — made a bold prediction. When asked if she thought the Big Kahuna was on Loyola’s side, she replied, Right now, yes. It’s been awhile since Catholics have had a team to root for, so I suppose I should cut the ninety-eight-year-old Sister Jean a bit of slack. However, I have it on good authority that Michigan, not Loyola, is actually God’s team. In fact, the Holy Spirit let it be known that God, the Father picked the Wolverines to win it all. The Holy Spirit also told me that Jesus had all his money of number one seed University of Virginia. Well, we know how that all worked out. Virginia was thrashed by number sixteen seed, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County — a school no one ever heard of before the tournament. The Spirit said that the Jesus was so depressed after Virginia’s loss that he almost killed himself — again.
Sister Jean says that God’s put the fix in, and Loyola-Chicago is going beat Michigan. Yet, the third part of the Trinity says that God, the Father let it be known at Trump’s Heavenly Sport’s Bar® that Michigan is going to take home the title. What are mere mortals to make of this confusion? If Sister Jean is as plugged in with God as she says she is, surely she would be rooting for Michigan. Sister Jean should take a stand on the infallible basketball picks of God, even if it means suffering great persecution from Loyola fans and players. I am sure Sister Jean doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history. I know it’s a Catholic thing to always be on the wrong side of monumental historical events – say, legalization of same-sex marriage — but one need to only to look at the relevant stats and game film to know that Michigan is the better team. And if there’s anything I learned as an Evangelical Christian it is this: God’s always on the side of winners. Montana, Houston, Texas A&M, and Florida State all learned that God wears maize and blue. I call on Sister Jean to repent and start rooting for the Team Up North®. If I, a lifelong Ohio State fan, can swallow my pride and root for God’s team, so can Sister Jean.
Of course, all jesting aside, Saturday’s game between Michigan and Loyola-Chicago will not be settled by the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. The game will be decided by the play on the court, not prayers or other frivolous religious antics. Suggesting a deity cares about and is interested in the outcomes of a game — any game — makes a mockery of religious faith. Think of all the things God could or should be doing — you know, stopping wars, putting an end to gun violence in schools, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and helping Kenneth Hagin get a new jet. Oh wait, God gave Hagin his new jet. Awesome job, God. Another world crisis solved. Now if you could do something about war and school gun violence, that would be great.
Sister Jean is certain that God is on her team’s side; that they are going to beat Michigan on Saturday. I wonder what she will say if her certainty is rubbed into the dirt of Big 10 physicality? Will God be blamed for the loss, or will the blame be placed on Loyola’s players and coaches? Surely, if God is the divine bracket designer, shouldn’t he be held accountable when the pronouncements of his followers fail to come to pass? Sister Jean, as with many Christians, says she knows the mind of God. If this is so, what are we to make of all the times clerics gave us a word straight from the mouth of God to our ears, and it proved to be wrong? Are these men and women of God mishearing what the divine puppet master is saying? Or, is it possible that the only voice that they are hearing is their own? That when they authoritatively say that they are one with God in some sort of Vulcan-like mind meld, that what they are really sensing or hearing is the machinations of their own mind and that “God” is, in fact, nowhere to be found?
There will indeed be a winner come Saturday night. The team that shoots, rebounds, and defends the best will win the game. I have watched Michigan play numerous times this year. My money is on the Wolverines, even if rooting for them causes Woody Hayes to roll over in his grave. I am an Ohio State fan first, and a Big Ten fan second. Once my team is eliminated, I root for whichever Big Ten team is still alive. I thought, at first, Michigan State would make it to the Final Four. After they lost, I turned my loyalty towards Purdue. A broken elbow sidelined Purdue’s center, Isaac Haas, and without him, Purdue had no chance to make it to the title game. After Purdue lost, Michigan was the last Big Ten team left standing. So, on Saturday night, I will hold my nose and cheer for Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Jordan Poole, Mo Wagner and company as they thump the Catholics. May Sister Jean learn that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the mighty Wolverines. As Michigan coach Beilein said, If God be for us, who can be against us? Mark it down … Michigan, by twenty.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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