To be the last two teams standing, in an exhausting 64 team tournament, is an accomplishment within itself but, who would not want to be the last team standing hoisting the trophy over their heads? It is hard not to feel good when you see a team rejoicing after they have won a championship game. After the final buzzer sounds you see the victorious team shedding happy tears down their faces and hugging each other while their team-colored confetti falls upon them. This year’s NCAA Division I National Championship was a very competitive back and forth battle between North Carolina and Gonzaga.
North Carolina knocked off Gonzaga this past Monday, April 3rd, to become the National Champions. This was a meaningful win for North Carolina because a year ago they were standing in Gonzaga’s shoes. Last year, Villanova beat North Carolina for the National Title with a buzzer beater shot. They were wondering what had just happened. Questioning if all of their hard work went to waste? A dramatic ending and a heartbreak loss to Villanova last year fueled North Carolina’s quest for redemption this year in the tournament.
Not only did individual players on North Carolina’s team find redemption after mediocre performances but, the team as a whole found a way to make it back to the championship and get the job done and redeem themselves this year. The word redemption should not come to us as an unfamiliar word because it can be found prominently in sports and in our faith, especially during the Lenten season. Jesus has given all of us the chance at redemption to take up our crosses and to follow Him. Once we follow Christ, we receive grace and forgiveness. Jesus redeemed all of us by His victory on the cross, the most important victory we should feel good about.