For the most part, ‘March Madness’ has been a barren source of amusement for me this year. But that changed a bit the other day, when I became acquainted with Michael Ojo.
Or more precisely, with Ojo’s feet.
A native of Nigeria, Mr. Ojo plays center for Florida State—and as they were battling tooth-and-nail against Xavier the other night, CBS slipped in a little feature about the high-tech cobbling that had to take place in order for him to play ball.
I found it to be a delightful story (but maybe that’s because it occurred during the course of Xavier’s upset win…the Muskies being among the last of my ‘favorites’ to survive the weekend.)
Mr. Ojo, it seems, wears a Size 21 shoe – Width 9-E.
As in: W – EEEEEEEEE
Perhaps not surprisingly, you can’t pick up a pair that size at the local Foot Locker. In fact, according to the CBS report, that size shoe didn’t even exist until Mr. Ojo enrolled at Florida State. Not in his native Nigeria…nor anywhere in the world. But thanks to FSU’s shoe contract with Nike, things soon changed. The folks at Nike HQ spent upwards of seven months developing a prototype for his feet. Then they designed and installed a $15,000 machine in Vietnam to make Mr. Ojo’s shoes.
HIS shoes…and no one else’s…in the world.
That’s a big-time investment. And I was reminded of the CBS report about Mr. Ojo’s shoes when I heard the beautiful plea included in the entrance Antiphon at Mass this morning. It came from Psalm 17:
‘Guard me as the apple of your eye…in the shadow of your wings, protect me.’
‘…the apple of Your eye’…which is to say, ‘God’s eye.’
That’s expecting a LOT of the Lord, don’t you think?
It’s a request for a prodigal sort of love from God…perhaps even an unwise investment of love. And yet, this is precisely the sort of extravagant ante God makes in each one of us—any time we ask.
March Madness, indeed.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.