[U: No. 1 Seed Illini — GONE!] O/T: Sister Jean’s Blazing Fire, And Still Unfolding… Legacy: A Last Dance?

I grew up in a very high-altitude Rocky Mountains parochial elementary school (long-since shuttered; serving back then as an altar boy) but went to public middle school, high school and land-grant university — and then returned to a Jesuit institution for law school. So I come with some pre-conceived viewpoints, or biases, if one prefers. I was both a lector and communion minister for most of that time.

On top of all of this, as I’ve written repeatedly here, I no longer generally adhere to the central covenants of that faith — especially so, insofar as its teachings roundly contradict a woman’s primary agency over her own body. And the right of women to be full priests of the faith, should they feel that calling.

All of that said, there are literally hundreds of millions of very fine people who still closely follow the faith. They truly intend to be the best humans they can be, and to be excellent to one another. And nearly chief among those, in my view, is Loyola of Chicago’s Basketball Chaplain Sister Jean.

I am feeling Sister Jean, in the purest sense. She is 101 years young now, having played Catholic high school roundball herself last, in 1936, at St. Paul’s High in San Francisco (while FDR was still President). She is obviously a very fine human being. Someone we should all laud, for now nearly eighty-five years of Godly and charitable service.

Now, the rub: most of this year’s Rambler round-ball team will graduate after this tourney run — and it is not likely that the program will return enough younger fire-power to reach the field of 64 next year. As such, the biological reality is that Sister Jean is likely watching her boys, in what is her final time at the Big Dance.

If anyone ever deserved the gift of seeing an improbable upset (again!), it is this fine woman of God. And I am certain she will be satisfied either way, when she meets her Maker, with just having witnessed it — after a life given to the the civil rights movement of the 1960s, among other endeavors. . . but it would sure be. . . cool, if she could see just one more win (or maybe even. . . four more, and a national championship). But I won’t push it. Let’s get this one, as improbable as that one over Tennessee was in the second round, last time (2018) — first.

UPDATED: Loyola just simply routed the Midwest’s No. 1 seed — Illinois. That they won by so much is perhaps the most shocking part of it — and they never gave up the lead after the first bucket. Illinois is a greatly-gifted, and very athletic team. Much more athletic than Loyola position by position, and deeper on the bench than the Ramblers. But Loyola just played fundamentally perfect team basketball, back-cutting, and solid pick and rolls all day, against the over eager Illini. Well-done! End, update.

So. . . way to go you Jesuits. you set the world ablaze, again, at 11 AM CDT this morning — right after Mass, and Sister Jean’s pre-game prayer. . . . [Perhaps immodestly, as a footnote — my most sober brackets are now ahead of Mr. Obama’s by three full games — as we enter Sunday. Smile. . . .]


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