Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 4.45.54 PMI went to Truett, the seminary at Baylor. During my time there, the Baylor football team was terrible and their basketball team was embroiled in scandal (the men’s team, the women’s was fantastic). Still, our undergrad alma mater, SBU, shares a football stadium with the local High School, so Baylor was big time. And over the years the university has developed respectable athletic programs.

So, if they have a prayer to win – I pick them (Baylor seems the likely prayer win candidate). This year the team was a five seed in the tournament, which seemed more than a prayer’s chance. So I not only chose them to win, but choose them to become the national champion. Megan also chose Baylor to go all the way – she paid for my degree, which she claims makes her more invested.

Unfortunately, anytime I choose a champion with my heart… Yale wins. (Or Norfolk State, if you want to go back a few years.) And before St. Patrick’s Day corned beef, my bracket is busted.

Cut-throat logic – I can now attest – is the best way to choose a bracket. Certainly luck is required. But logic is the key. The heart only gets in the way if you want to win the office pool or beat Granny’s bracket (who often wins our family contest).

Yet, if you want to enjoy the tournament…  that is a different thing. To enjoy how could I not root for Baylor? How could I, watching the game, cheer someone to beat my team. Or, closer to my heart, how I could root for anyone but the Royals to become repeat World Series champions?

Life can appear like the brackets, when everything is based on the market. It becomes a competition, a race to get what is yours. Which invariably leaves losers. We can become opportunist. Protectionists. Selfish. Angry.

We see this in politics on both sides – the negativity and extremism is often because our system leaves some economically behind. But this is life when everyone is seeking to beat the market’s bracket. Someone will be a big winner. Some of us are left out in the opening round. It is logical, but cut-throat.

Yet there is another approach to life. Rather than climbing ladders, focused on economic advancement, we can set our focus on relationships. Choosing family and friends over career. Mastering tasks we enjoy. Seeking the benefit of our neighbors – rather than seeking to keep up with the “Jones”, we could even root for their success.

When you choose with your heart in life, on paper you will be less valuable. But in the heart of others… you will find love.

1Corinthians 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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