I am a University of North Carolina basketball fan. I have been as long as I can remember. I am not sure how it happened, but I love the Carolina blue. So if you know the results of the National Championship game against Villanova, you can imagine that I feel like I was sucker-punched last night a little after 11 pm. From my perspective, it was a great game with an unpleasant ending. Please know I am not one of those people that is depressed today or the that my life rises and falls by whether the ball goes in or out. But nevertheless, it is more enjoyable to have the team you are rooting for win rather than lose. So I figure the best thing to do is to take a poor result and turn into a helpful lesson. I actually believe that is a good way to approach life — learn from every win and every loss.
Here are some lessons from the big game:
- Do the right thing and don’t try to be a hero – On the final play of the game, Archie Arcidiacono made the right play. He did not make the spectacular play. He did not try and do too much. He made the right play. The play was the smart, quality basketball play. Many people will forget he made the pass. Kris Jenkins made the shot, but Archie made the play. And to do that, Archie has to resist trying to be the hero. He had to be willing to be a good teammate who was interested in “we” more than “me.” Too many people in life want to be remembered. They want to be the center of attention. They want to have the big office. They want to known. Just do the right thing: The right thing morally. The right thing professionally that you have been trained to do. The right thing in relationships. The right thing in your family. Just do the right thing and live with the results.
- Just keep playing – The Tarheels were down 10 points with just under 6 minutes to go. It looked bad. But they scored and got a stop. They scored again and another stop. And they just kept playing. They did not quit. They did not get overwhelmed by the deficit. They did not start blaming others. They did not panic. They just kept doing what they knew to do and over those last few minutes climbed back to tie the game. In life, one of the most important things is to just keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t blame others or make excuses. Moment after moment, just keep taking steps forward. No one ever reaches the finish line if they quit. So keep going.
- Disappointment is a part of life – Marcus Paige hits an unbelievable shot and ties the game with just under 5 seconds. It looks like Carolina will have a shot to go to overtime and win. And then Villanova hit the dagger at the buzzer. All the Tarheel fans had their heart ripped out of their chest. Disappointment for the players, coaches, trainers, students and fans now sets in. And guess what? Disappointment is a part of life. You can play hard, do the right thing, compete, give your best and still lose. It happens. Everyone needs to expect failure and disappointment. They are realities. My uncle used to say “fair is a place they show pigs at.” Your best does not always equal win. Suck it up and go compete again. People will break up with you. You won’t always get the job. Sometimes the other guy or other team is just better. Rise up and try again.
- Overcome adversity that you can’t control – I know people will think I am biased, but I do not believe what I am about to say is biased, I think it is reality. (And many on social media agree with me) The officiating was terrible if you were a UNC fan. Carolina got hit with some awful calls including one on Hicks in the last minute that put Nova at the line. But you know what, it happens. You cannot control it. You can’t control many things in life. You control what you can control and go from there. You work hard to overcome adversity. You realize that other people will do things you don’t want them to do. The city will turn down the levy. Your coworker will gossip about you. So what? Go do what you can. Control what you can control and overcome the other variables.
One game, lots of lessons. Every event is a chance to grow. The question is will we learn the lesson?