(This message was originally published on March 20, 2014)
This past Sunday morning I was preaching in Suffolk, Virginia. We made it home in time to see the Virginia Cavaliers win their first ACC Basketball Tournament since 1976.
Now, I really have not followed Cavalier Basketball very closely in recent years. The University of Virginia is the college I drove past on my way to school (my undergrad is from J.M.U.). However, as a teenager growing up in Southeast Virginia I was one of their biggest fans. I literally wept when dreams of a championship were never realized in the Ralph Sampson era. My friend, and the pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, Doug Echols has remained a steady and true fan of the Virginia Cavaliers.
But on this past Sunday afternoon, I cheered. I cheered for a Virginia team that had not won an ACC Basketball Tournament since I was six years old. I cheered because this past Sunday, basketball was once again a “team sport.” I cheered because I watched Coach Tony Bennett in a very classy way honor Christ first, and then show his affection for his dad in the post game interview.
This past Tuesday, the local paper in Richmond, Virginia posted an article titled, “Cavaliers’ Success: By the (Good) Book.” Bennett acknowledges his father’s faith. The article states that these values for Bennett are based on the Bible. In this article the writer highlights the core values of the coach:
These “pillars” (as Bennett calls them) are important to keep in mind as church leaders and church members. Working together as a team, being focused on Christ’s mission, and keeping the most important matters in perspective is very important.
I know many of your friends, neighbors, and church family may be talking about March Madness at this time. So, I thought it might be helpful to be able to highlight this biblical philosophy.
Now, I don’t want to be just another fair weather fan. Although, I must admit that I may go out and get myself a new UVA shirt. Americans and Virginians love their coaches when they win. Unfortunately, had this coach and the team failed to win Sunday’s game, who knows if this article would have been written. I’m not sure I would have noticed. But Coach Bennett has my attention. Not just because he cut down the net in Greensboro on Sunday, but because he honored Christ. Cheer on the Cavaliers if they are your team. But, let’s pray for the Lord to raise up champions for Christ that will make Jesus famous!