The Opening Bell

Articles from The Opening Bell

Is There Method in the Madness?

by Bonnie Bell, MA, MDiv., Principal, Director of Career/Life Coaching

April 2018

Most of you are familiar with our two Bell Investment Advisors blogs: one on career/life issues called Making a Good Life Happen®, which I write, and the other, our finance blog, which a variety of our staff writes, depending on whose expertise is needed. But what you don’t know is that we pretty much have a team of basketball enthusiasts here. I have often said we really should have a third blog that deals exclusively with basketball, because we have plenty of expertise to go around on that subject among both male and female staff. Our bench is deep.

During basketball season, basketball talk is a recurring theme at the office every day and first
thing in the morning depending on what’s happened over night. Our monthly staff lunches always include a passionate discussion of who’s doing what on which team, college or pro, and you can imagine how this all goes during March Madness! The kitchen is plastered with each of our brackets, and at the risk of getting in some kind of trouble with the SEC, we do compete fairly strenuously among ourselves with “trash talk” and the like, but limit our individual contributions to the pot at $10 each.

As the years and basketball seasons have flown by, my interest in basketball has surprisingly grown. Rather than being tempted to plug my ears as the conversations take place, I have been drawn in and developed my own interests in certain schools and certain pros. When I was the winner of the coveted pot one year, I realized that I actually did have a chance to win — that basketball expertise isn’t necessarily the determinative factor in beating out the March Madness competition. Luck is definitely a player as well.

Sister Jean

When I choose a team to root for, I have to be enthusiastic about them or their coach or their school or the stories I’ve heard about them; otherwise, it’s just not interesting to me, and I won’t hang in there until the very last day. When Loyola University Chicago was beat out by the University of Michigan I knew I’d lost the jackpot. But hey, wasn’t it fun to see Loyola-Chicago make it all the way to the final four after a 30-year drought? And wasn’t it fun to learn about tiny Sister Jean, still an enthusiastic and soulful Chaplain to the team at the age of 98? I especially loved the newspaper photo of her standing up, out of her wheelchair and in a prayerful circle with her beloved team members, each of whom was at least a foot or two taller than she.

Following their heart-breaking loss to Michigan, let me guess that she and the team are still stinging, but that they have been taught to be good sports, and to learn what they need to from the painful experience of defeat. Let me guess also that they will never forget Sister Jean or the countless things they learned from her, no matter what they end up doing in life.

Meanwhile, we all had to wait to find out whether the final victor would be University of Michigan or Villanova. I knew my team had already lost, but I decided to place my hopes with Villanova, since, after all, they had Fr. Bob as their chaplain, and I’d heard his prayers are pretty powerful as well.

Postscript: So in the end, as we all know now, Villanova was the victor. And at the office, Rohan Nayak, CFP®, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor, was the winner of the Bell Investment Advisors 2018 jackpot, having chosen Villanova as the winner and having accumulated the victorious number of points along the way to beat out Brian Baylis, Chief Operations Officer, at #2, and Corinne Salera Bedford, CFP®, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor, at #3.

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