4 Lessons Learned From This Year’s NCAA Tournament Final Four Teams
This year’s NCAA Tournament has lived up to expectations as it always does. March Madness never fails to show up this time of year. Of course all of the madness has left my bracket busted, but I have enjoyed every minute, and learned a thing or two. This weekend the Final 4 teams will give their best efforts to win the NCAA Championship. All they have learned and worked for will be used to give them the best chance at winning. No matter the result, when CBS plays “One Shining Moment” on Monday night, each player will have completed an awesome journey.
A journey filled with ups and downs. A journey filled with sacrifice and hustle. A journey filled with lessons they will use for the rest of their lives.
The journey is just as important as the destination
Each team has had a unique journey, and there are lessons young athletes, coaches, and sports parents can learn from them. Learning and applying these lessons in sports and in life will give athletes a leg up on the competition, and help them compete and live at their potential.
Below are 4 Lessons Learned from This Year’s NCAA Tournament Final Four Teams.
Wichita State Shockers
Wichita State came into the tournament as a #9 seed. Which basically means the NCAA Selection Committee didn’t think they were going to even win their first game. Well, they did win it and went on to face an even greater task. The #1 seed in their region. After dispatching the #1 seed and a lower seed, they faced Big Ten Champion and highly ranked Ohio State. Once again, Wichita State won and advanced. All except one of their four wins they were the underdog. The basketball experts didn’t believe they would win. However, Wichita State’s coaches and players believed they would. Just like the Shockers, your belief in yourself will help you to overcome obstacles at every level.
When you think of Syracuse basketball three things may come to mind: the big Orange mascot, coach Jim Boeheim, and the zone defense. During Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s years as head coach he has remained constant in his strategy. They play a zone defense and they play it well. He understands the defense, knows it’s strong and weak spots, and knows how to coach it. And Syracuse does it well. Syracuse used this defense to stifle their opponents each round. The Orange’s strength in the zone defense exposed some of the weaker areas for the teams it defeated on the way to the Final 4. Find what you like to do, what you are good at and do it. Doing what you love and are good at helps increase your chances of success.
Michigan had one of the great comeback games of the tournament. Being down to a #1 seed by 14 with less than 7 minutes left–or down by 5 with 21 seconds left can be very discouraging. Not to Michigan and Trey Burke. The Wolverines never quit, never stopped having faith, and fought their way back. Not only did they never lose faith in that game, but their season was very similar. After starting off very strong, they lost 6 games toward the last few weeks of the season. Many experts wrote them off. None of that affected them either. No matter how big the challenge, or how far you are behind, never give up, and never lose faith. The only way you lose in life is if you quit on yourself.
Louisville came into the tournament as the #1 overall seed. They lived up to it winning their first three games by a combined 173 points. It seemed they could not be brought down. However, their game against Duke had the entire team in tears, broken down and looking as if they couldn’t go on. Basketball didn’t break them down. A very serious, and gruesome, injury to one of their teammates did. When the Cardinal’s Kevin Ware broke his leg in half basketball became a secondary thought. Everyone watching could care less about the basketball game. Keeping a proper perspective will help you enjoy each moment you have playing and practicing your sport. Enjoying each moment will make the game more fun, just like it is supposed to be.
Your journey is no different
All of our lives are filled with many journeys, and many experiences. Playing and coaching sports has been one of the most memorable and fun for me. While you enjoy watching, coaching, and playing sports remember to enjoy the journey and learn from it all.
Question: Has this tournament been a fun and memorable one for you? Please share your most memorable moments and why.