A tremendous four-day stretch of games in the NCAA Tournament is finally upon us! I’m ready for the upsets, buzzer beaters, and crazy finishes.  

I love college basketball, but one of the biggest changes over the years has been the trend of players leaving school early to head to the NBA.

Unfortunately, we see less and less upperclassmen contributing to tournament teams because a big focus is being placed on talented freshmen. 

However, teams that do have juniors and seniors have a significant advantage and can be a key factor in the success of a deep tournament run.

Teams that understand what it takes to win, and have experienced the tournament’s atmosphere, are worth considering when filling out our brackets.  

Clark Kellogg, of CBS, recently made this great illustration: “A good salad needs a little seasoning and that’s what Kentucky has with those seniors.”  

In considering the point Kellogg was making, I not only question whether we place enough emphasis on seasoned players in college basketball…but also if we adequately recognize the importance of experience in life.

In business and relationships, shouldn’t we appreciate the value of having seasoned employees and friends? After all, these are the people we can look to for guidance, leadership, and stability. 

Undoubtedly, young guys can rely on passion and natural ability, but they lack what those with more know-how have to offer. We need to embrace those with seniority and leverage their understanding, so those behind them reap the benefits.

During the tournament, instead of questioning a senior player’s talent level since he hasn’t already left for the NBA, shouldn’t we be acknowledging that his veteran leadership can make a huge difference beyond his visible athleticism? 

These principles also are important when it comes to having a mature faith. People who have experienced walking with Jesus for a number of years can share the lessons they’ve learned. There is infinite value in the seasoning that comes from a lifetime of commitment to God. 

The Bible’s book of wisdom sums it up this way in Proverbs 20:29(NLT):The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.”

College basketball teams sometimes hide their seniors at the end of the bench, despite their worthy experience, and we’ve been known to conceal the gray in our hair. 

Today, I hope we are encouraged to look at the older and wiser with an appreciation of their seasoning. Let’s accept our role of seniority, so we can share our wisdom with others. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray I wouldn’t downplay those who are more seasoned than I am. Show me how to rely on their knowledge, and admire them for what they offer. Help me embrace my role as I gain wisdom, and be willing to share with those who are behind me. Thank you for helping us grow through experience. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.