That Old Time Religion
This time of year, the city where I live goes basketball crazy. That’s because Spokane is home to Gonzaga University, and if you follow college ball at all, you know the Gonzaga team has carved out a substantial niche near the top of the NCAA over the past twenty years. Locals keep track of weekly rankings and there was a collective city-wide groan when Gonzaga slipped to second place behind Baylor in recent national polls. It’s a small school as colleges go, with only about 5,000 undergraduate students — but the Bulldogs rank right up there with the big boys when it comes to basketball. Gonzaga is run by the Jesuits and I wonder what my mother would have thought of the place. Though a devout Catholic her entire life, she had serious misgivings about the Jesuit order. My mother was not a questioner and held the opinion that the Jesuits teach people to ask too many questions, to explore religion more deeply than is appropriate. I remember her exact words: “You want to lose your religion? Study with the Jesuits.” Right now, in this town, basketball is religion.