Some of you may be aware of the gigantic cultural event that is kicking off today.

This event signifies the coming of Spring, a new beginning; there are surely better, warmer days ahead.

The NCAA basketball tournament- men’s and women’s.

Time to put aside the bad news. Time to forget about the bad seeds, the corrupt coaches and the ethically flawed programs. Sports is the ultimate metaphor of life. We have good guys and bad guys, the system is far from perfect; but there will be heroes and heroines that will step up and rise above the rest.

This is the tournament where a little school has a reasonably decent chance of felling a Goliath. I love the buzzer-beaters, those last second desperation shots that, every once in a while, swish through the net.

It’s fun witnessing the occasional heartbreak of the 1%ers of the sport, the defeat of the entitled, the ones who believe victory is assumed.

The names through the years are familiar to the devotees of this tournament; Butler. Gonzaga, in the early days. George Mason. Little Princeton rendering big bad UCLA helpless, my favorite game of all time. I’m a sucker for the underdog, for victory is so much sweeter when no one believes you can do it.

We were asked recently to create organizational charts for our departments at school. It’s our version of the bracket (the chart fans create to predict the outcome of the tournament).

There are some future heroes and heroines on that chart. There are a few folks who are going to step up, do their work, and do it well.

At a recent retreat with the top brass at the university, the different schools gathered in groups to brainstorm academics and excellence.

The facilitator at our table, a big wheel at the university, was floored by our presentation.

“I have never seen anyone so well prepared for this as you people are!” she gushed.

We were ready to play. We were ready to kick it up a notch.

Most people are willing to mail it in, to watch life go by, complaining all the way about the good fortunes of others. Some are in a state of permanent resignation. Some don’t think they’re good enough; they buy into their own self-talk.

Not you.

You want to feel competent. You want to be appreciated. Some of us want to be acknowledged.

When you do the work you love, you can play the game at the highest level.

We are all in the big tournament of life. Let’s play to win.


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