March Madness, for the uninitiated, is the national NCAA basketball tournament which takes place each spring. It features, not just basketball games, but betting pools, brackets, and inane color commentary, delivered with way too much passion for the subject matter at hand. (“You have to understand, Larry, that whoever wins, that’s who has put the ball in the hole the most. And that’s just what Georgia Tech needs to do here today.” “That’s EXACTLY RIGHT, Tom. GENIUS.”)
It is a very popular event. I follow it intermittently so that I avoid entirely alienating my basketball-playing relatives. (I can’t run, dribble, shoot, or even pass, but gosh darn it, I can explain the difference between zone and man-to-man defense!)
And so it gives me great pleasure that there is now some ecclesiastical equivalent. Somewhere my greatest well of inane knowledge can be channeled in service of competition! Hooray! I finally get to fill out brackets too! (See?! Geeks do run the 21st century!!!)
The way it works is this:
You go here: Lent Madness’s website. (Or, if this poses problems for you, I have also put their convent widget over on the side, see?)
Print out a bracket. Fill it out with your picks for each match up, all the way to the GOLDEN HALO!!!!
As Lent begins, people will vote for their favorite saint in each matchup. The polls with remain open for a given amount of time. (More here.) The ‘winning’ saint continues to the next round, until finally, ONLY ONE REMAINS. ::insert triumphant, Olympic music here::
Each day, on the Lent Madness website, guest writers will offer their perspectives on the saints in the poll. If it’s been a while since you’ve flipped through Holy Women, Holy Men, or you’re under the impression that Episcopal saints are all ancient, plaster-of-paris renditions of holiness, then really, you should try this. (If only for St. Brigid, who once turned a lake into beer, to slake the thirst of her abbey. Total badass.)
Canterbury at NAU will be posting our brackets in my office, with a prize for the overall winner, and another prize for the most correct picks. (Already, the trash talking has begun on Twitter.)
So join us! Whoever said spiritual disciplines couldn’t be awesome?