March Madness started this last weekend, and basketball fans everywhere are paying close attention.
Three weekends. Sixty-eight teams. One national championship.
The 16 teams that made is through the first weekend include an entry that hasn’t seen the tournament in 33 years.
The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers secured a win and became a part of the Sweet 16, much to the surprise (and elation) of their fans, and perhaps even themselves.
But they have a secret weapon that no one else can claim. They have Sister Jean Delores-Schmidt.
And she has not only won over her team with her pre-game ritual and constant support, she’s also made news and captured hearts of basketball enthusiasts everywhere.
When asked what she told the Ramblers before their astounding win, she responded, “I’m told them that we were going to win, that we could do it, and that God would be on our side and we were just going to do it today.”
Sister Jean is a riot. She’s well known for her prayers and keeps morale high.
She has a little explaining to do, though, because she did not pick her favorite team to make it to the quarterfinals.
But, to be fair, she hopes they prove her wrong and that her team can go even further than she expected.
The nun is a basketball enthusiast and a familiar courtside presence. She even played basketball in high school, which for her was in the 1930s.
She’s wonderfully savage when she needs to be, too. She may be 98 years old, but she’s still incredibly sharp.
When asked about her “national” fame, she retorted, “Really, if I may correct you, international.”
Despite her bracket pick against them, she has gotten to know the players and has a lot of respect and care for them.
“Well first of all, I think they are young men who have great faith in each other and faith in God firstly,” she said in an interview. “They have great faith in each other. They like each other.”
“They are a team, and if somebody isn’t very hot that day, somebody else picks up. And that’s happened so often.”
And she’s enjoyed every moment of her involvement. “I had so much fun. I can’t tell you how much fun I had,” she said. “So, it’s just, it’s good for Loyola. It’s good for me. And I think it’s great for the young men and the more publicity we get for them, I think the more confident they get.”
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