Last night there was a small ripple across the sports landscape with the women’s basketball team winning 89 consecutive games to surpass the 88 by UCLA’s famed men’s hoops team from the 70’s. There has been some interesting discussion around this leading up to the game last night and it struck me while running this morning some of the similarities of this team and coach to that of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Love or Hate
Geno Auriemma is either loved or hated, almost nothing in between. Apparently he’s loved by his university, administration, and players, he’s been there forever. Of course winning never hurts one’s longevity and covers up a multitude of dislikable characteristics. He’s almost unanimously disliked outside the UConn circles as a brash, arrogant, loud mouth and loathed so much in Rocky Top country for dissing the queen of women’s bball he’d probably not make it out of Knoxville if he crossed into the city limits.
Jesus was loved or hated throughout his ministry by those he came in contact with and caused disruptions for. He was loved by the common man and those in his inner circles, so much so they were martyred in his name. He was loathed by the religious leaders and too was labeled brash, arrogant, and outright defiant of authority. How could he claim to be the son of God, forgive sin, and talk to such characters he chose to talk too? Didn’t he know the laws of the land? How dare he?
Not the “real” thing
Some are arguing there shouldn’t be any comparison between the women’s streak and the men’s streak. How can you compare apples and oranges like this? Women’s bball competition doesn’t have the parity of men’s, it’s not as difficult to whip just a few decent teams over the years, etc… If the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater continues to win games at their current rate, there’s no way it would be compared to Oklahoma’s behemoth run of victories in the 50’s, right?
Many during Jesus’ time argued he was a fraud; he can’t really be God can he? The temple leaders, Sadducees and Pharisees were quick to point out Jesus wasn’t following the rules, he doesn’t represent “real” religion does he, surely not!
He said what?
The administration at UConn probably cringes every time they see a news story with Geno Auriemma as part of the story. They’ve got to be afraid just about every time he has access to a microphone around reporters. There are even pages upon pages of Auriemma quotes that I’m sure UConn would rather not persist in cyberland forever. After winning game 88 he went on a rant that likely had administrators looking for the delete button.
“All the guys that loved women’s basketball are all excited, and all the miserable bastards that follow men’s basketball and don’t want us to break the record are all here because they’re pissed.”
You could just hear the breaks on the UConn PR machine screeching in the distance. One step forward, two steps back for Geno.
The disciples had to have just about soiled themselves with some of the things Jesus let loose during his ministry time. Filthy rich young successful guy wants to join up with Jesus and his merry men, and what does Jesus drop on him? Sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and then you can hang with us. Uh, do what?! The disciples had to have wanted to tackle Jesus! You know they wanted to rush to the rich young ruler who was slinking away and begin the spin machine to get him back on the team. This was a prize recruit, how can we let him get away? Surely they wanted to scream at Jesus, we’ll never be the fastest growing church in the tri state area without the resources and influence of a guy like that, what are you thinking?! Eat my flesh, drink my blood, let the dead bury their own, oh please Jesus, stop the insanity, we’ll never get anyone to follow us if you keep talking like that.
It’s over, this is it?
So the game is over, UConn has won 89 games in a row, now what? (no, there isn’t a Disney World promo here) I know, let’s get the outspoken, obviously mad at the world coach to do a drawing to give away a couple of Wii consoles after the game. That’ll make this celebratory moment a highlight and make some memories, right? I could only watch with what must have looked like that confused look a dog gives you with tilted head when I saw this, huuuuhhhhh? The coach is pissed about women’s basketball not getting the respect of men’s and someone in the athletic department thought it would be a good idea to do a quick raffle and give a way some Wii’s like it’s bingo night in Storrs, awwwwkward! Somehow I don’t see Coach Wooden, Coach K, Dean Smith, or heaven forbid Bobby Knight actually taking the mic and giving away video games after such a momentous moment! Heck, no one would even dream of asking them to. I could only scratch my head in disbelief.
The clouds have rolled away and the breath has left Jesus. The disciples have to be looking around and thinking, this is it, where’s the bolt of lightning smiting these jerks, where is the phoenix rising up to squash all of these punks? This is it, what the heck? I left my family, my friends, my job and there’s no apocalyptic judgment reigning down on these heathens?! They had to be scratching their head in disbelief and thinking, great, what do we do now?
The good news obviously is that Jesus did indeed rise like the phoenix in triumph over death and sin just like he said he would. And oh yeah, Geno didn’t provide any further quotable moments in the midst of having that open mic last night. Whew!