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March Madness and Marriage Moments
By Mary Carty
Source: AmericanCatholic.org
Published: Friday, March 11, 2011
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After a season that encompassed autumn, a multitude of games, the holidays, a new year, exams, the last days of winter and regionals, college basketball teams are now waiting to learn which teams will make the cut for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament.

On Sunday, March 13, at 6 p.m. (ET), the 68 “finalist” teams will be announced. These teams will have earned their way to this prestigious tournament that will test their well-honed skills to try to bring home the coveted DI title.

The schools, players and fans may be overjoyed, but the world of business is less than enthusiastic.

Earlier this month, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., reported that this sporting event could cost American companies $190 million in lost-worker productivity due to the distraction of computers, cell phones, office pools and tournament chit chat.

Though business stands to lose millions, stakes are high as well on the home courts all over this land, as marriages may suffer losses as well.

In some households, this annual event, known as “March Madness,” may cause minor or even major frustrations in a marriage. The degree of interest in the tournament may range from occasionally checking on scores during the tournament to watching the games to a 24/7 obsession that includes incessant up-to-the-minute radio, television and Web commentaries before, after and during each of the seven rounds. All of this outside focus may cause some distraction in the relationship.

Hands down, until April 4 and the sound of the final buzzer, “March Madness” will be the buzz—here, there and just about everywhere.

For a non-sports-minded spouse, this hoopla remains a mystery.

Like, how could the finals of anything possibly have 68 teams?

A neglected spouse may wonder why so much time and energy is spent on this spectator sport and wish that the same enthusiasm shown during this event would be shown at home.

For those baffled by this phenomenon, maybe taking a fresh look at the situation could bring about a change of attitude and a better understanding of the event.

Considering that “March Madness” is so popular that it is woven into the fabric of our culture, there must be some positive attributes that cause millions of fans to follow the teams though the regular season and become even bigger fans during the weeks of the tournament.

There must be some lessons to learn and there is the possibility of discovering some common ground for the couple to share.

Though this tournament is a competition for the trophy, title and glory, it is also a celebration and acknowledgment of the work and commitment of all of the student athletes and all of the teams shown over the course of the season.

A closer look at the process of the tournament and the game itself demonstrates some of the basics that brought these teams to the highest level of their leagues and to the college basketball world are:

1. There is a general protocol – rules and guidelines – understood and carried out by all participants.
2. At their best, there is clear, concise verbal and nonverbal communication between team members.
3. There is a strong spirit of commitment.
4. There are strategies to work together as a team to get the job done.
5. There is scheduled time shared on a regular basis to strengthen the team.
6. There is a united effort toward a goal and/or goals.
7. From opening tip-off to the final buzzer, the team members usually show hope, faith and strength.
8. There is perseverance of all members of the team while sharing the workload.
9. In time of crisis, time outs are called.
10. Last, but not least, teams often pray together before the beginning of a game.

Aha, there is common ground.

How ironic! All 10 concepts that create successful teamwork on the basketball court are the same principles that can help build a strong marriage.

This new discovery and paradigm shift for the non-sportive spouse might make watching this sporting event a pleasure, knowing that there is much more to be aware of than the score.

Hats off to the 68 college teams that made it to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament.

For fans and non-fans alike, taking time to watch any of the games will be an opportunity share in the accomplishments of these fine athletes and learn a lesson or two about successful teamwork on the home court.


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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

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