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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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Oliver Plunkett: The name of today's saint is especially familiar to the Irish and the English—and with good reason. The English martyred Oliver Plunkett for defending the faith in his native Ireland during a period of severe persecution. 
<p>Born in County Meath in 1629, he studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654. After some years of teaching and service to the poor of Rome he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland. Four years later, in 1673, a new wave of anti-Catholic persecution began, forcing Archbishop Plunkett to do his pastoral work in secrecy and disguise and to live in hiding. Meanwhile, many of his priests were sent into exile; schools were closed; Church services had to be held in secret and convents and seminaries were suppressed. As archbishop, he was viewed as ultimately responsible for any rebellion or political activity among his parishioners. 
</p><p>Archbishop Plunkett was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in 1679, but his trial was moved to London. After deliberating for 15 minutes, a jury found him guilty of fomenting revolt. He was hanged, drawn and quartered in July 1681. 
</p><p>Pope Paul VI canonized Oliver Plunkett in 1975.</p> American Catholic Blog God had a plan even before he created Adam and Eve. God is never caught off guard. He knows all. He sees all. And he is working all things together for the good of his children. Nothing can stop his plan of mercy and love.

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