Sixteen seeds have a 98 per cent chance of losing their first (and thus only) game in the annual men’s national basketball tournament. That’s life for a 16 seed.
(There are over 350 schools which have men’s basketball teams at the highest level, called “D-1”. Of that group, 68 teams are invited to an annual single-elimination (“lose and go home”) basketball tournament. The best four teams are “seeded” as a “1” in the first round of games against the worst four teams, called “16 seeds.” No “16” has beaten a “1”.)
So, why bother playing the “16 v. 1” game? Because when you are a 16 seed you believe you can win. Each year at least one 16-seed player declares, “We can beat anyone.” They believe it. They are champions of their own conference, and they have won something like 20 of their 30 games, and they believe in themselves. And then the game is played and they lose. Every time. Reality sets in. The game is over. No one cares.
You would think that “David loses to Goliath” should be a headline, but it’s not. People expect David to lose to Goliath, except in the Bible story. We want David to win, but, let’s face it, in our lives, Goliath wins more than he loses. And yet all kinds of “Davids” keep taking up 5 smooth stones, trying to slay life’s giant enemy. I wonder if when Jesus was a little boy he played with a slingshot, pretending to be the superhero he admired from the temple stories. But then, maybe not. Maybe he knew that he was born to be a 16 seed, always playing a 1. Oh, he would have his moments, but then, in the end, the enemy won. And he knew it was going to happen. But, Jesus kept playing.
Why did Jesus bother to play the game of life if he knew he was going to end up dead on a cross? Well, maybe the cross isn’t the end of the game. Maybe the game isn’t over. Maybe all the “cross-watchers” are wrong. Maybe the people who give you no chance to succeed in your life don’t know that the game of life isn’t what it appears; that David still beats Goliath; that good conquers evil; that the faithful are rewarded with the victor’s crown. The game isn’t over, friend. Keep on playing. Someone cares.