March Madness?

March Madness?

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By Julie Summa

I admit it.  I’m a basketball junkie this time of year. I’m especially devoted to March Madness due to the absence of significant bleacher time I used to have as a result of my two sons, ages 23 and 24, who used to play a lot of basketball. 

As I was sitting on my couch last night, with my schedule at my fingertips, my bracket close by, texting and conversing with my college-aged son about the madness, I finally came to one conclusion…”madness” is an understatement so far in this 2014 NCAA tournament!  With four overtimes in just the first full day of the tournament, compared to just one overtime in the entire 2013 tournament, I realized this was the epitome of March Madness. 

Still up at 12:35 AM in the morning watching the last game finish up its overtime, marking my last victory on the bracket, and thinking how stupid it was for me to be up this late knowing I had work the next day, I reflected upon the day’s worth of basketball…and the stories.

The one story that stood out to me wasn’t even about basketball, the best dunk, well-executed play, or the biggest upset.  It wasn’t even the touching story about Iowa’s coach, Fran McCaffrey, and his 13 year-old son having thyroid surgery the day of the game, or the drama about the pair of coaches, one a former assistant coach having to play each other the first round.  But, it was about one young player’s sister.  She has Down’s Syndrome. 

mia oliver

As the announcer weaved the story of this lovely young woman’s unwavering devotion to her brother, the fact that she invited him to her prom, and the dedication of her family to her well-being and enjoyment of basketball, you could almost hear the collective “awwwwws” from the television viewers.  They even had one reporter interview her about her brother, only to be surprised at how eloquently and passionately she articulated her answers.  Again, more “awwwwws” from those watching.  The story was told so well that admiration for her, her brother, and for her family was the end result. 

Consider this madness.  How could anyone look at this special young woman and determine she does not have the right to live?  That’s what some in our anti-life society claim – that her life is not worth keeping and mothers have a right of “selective abortion” (to kill) their Down’s Syndrome children in the womb.  And another question – how could this same mainstream media elevate life in a story like this, but also promote and defend a woman’s right to choose to murder her own baby? 

Regardless of the answers to these questions, I am thankful this story highlighted, celebrated, valued, and elevated the life of this precious young lady.  As Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  That means everyone, especially this basketball player’s perfect sister.

And one more thought…even though I don’t have a perfect bracket this year, I know I have a perfect Heavenly Father who loves me and this young woman enough to send His Son to earth, die on the cross for our sins, and rise again to prepare eternal life for those of us who believe. 

On with the tournament!