Hoosiers is a 1986 film about a small-town basketball team, the Hickory Huskers, in the heart of Indiana. Their new coach, Norman Dale, has a questionable past and is apparently only hired because of his friendship with the high school principal.
Coach Dale selects the town drunk, the father of one of his players, to become his assistant coach.
This movie's plot is filled with trust issues, past failures, future potential and the importance of hard work. Hoosiers also sweetly reveals the simplicity of small-town life in 1950s America. The men still met at the town barbershop for conversation. The fields were abundant with ripened corn under the autumn sky, and the town pastor prays before every game. The public high school basketball team even rides the church's bus to away games!
The Hickory Huskers unbelievably and miraculously win the state tournament against a big city school. It's a David vs. Goliath story told through the lens of high school basketball.
My beloved alma mater, Oral Roberts University, is in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana. Most announcers and sports writers have labeled ORU as the "Cinderella" team of this year's tournament. I wasn't aware that the Cinderella of fairy tale fame played college basketball, but then, neither did David, the Bible hero who had only five smooth stones in his pocket.
However, I do prefer to call ORU the "David" of March Madness. ORU has already taken down two of the intimidating Goliaths of college basketball; we first beat the number two seed, Ohio State, and then miraculously won a victory against Florida, the number seven seed. The next Goliath in front of us is Arkansas, which has earned the ranking of a number three seed.
In the movie Hoosiers, while in the locker room just prior to the final game, the small-town pastor tells the nervous team of high school boys, "With the God of heaven, it is all one: To deliver with a great multitude, or a small company. For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of hosts, but strength cometh from heaven."
As I have been watching ORU play the Goliaths of college basketball, in the closing minutes of each game I have simply prayed, "Lord, if winning this game would bring more glory to Your name, let ORU win."
Paul Mills, ORU's basketball coach who was formerly an assistant at Baylor, has unashamedly given glory to God throughout the entire tournament. He has quoted Scripture, shared the lyrics of hymns and has even testified of the power that is in the name of Jesus.
On the sideline of ORU's basketball court are the words boldly printed for the world to see: "Expect a miracle!"
We are a university and an alumni population who believes; we believe in miracles. We also believe in our basketball team and are praying for a miracle!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol has written 11 books, including Significant, StormProof and Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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