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The UPSIDE of March Gone Mad

I’m notoriously vocal at basketball games whether in person or at home decked out in UVA orange and blue. If watching long distance, I text my daughter Christine who sends Snapchats from her half-court student seats in John Paul Jones Arena.

But for this March Madness ACC Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, we were together in The Room Where it Happens cheering on our favorite team.

Last year’s ACC extreme high win was followed by an NCAA historic loss, a fact that’s been rehashed by sportscasters during every UVA game this season. To get the monkey off our backs, UVA needs to go farther in the NCAA tournament. Can they? Yes, because of lessons learned from that notorious loss—takeaways that are valuable for all of us. I’ll let Coach Tony Bennett’s words be the UPSIDE for Madness in March.

  1. CHARACTER COUNTS IN BOTH WINS AND LOSSES. Tony Bennett teaches five pillars: humility, passion, unity, servant-hood, and thankfulness. These character qualities go beyond the basketball court and are great pillars for all of us to consider in failure or success.

  2. A LOSS OR A WIN DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. "This is life. It can't define you. You enjoyed the good times and you gotta be able to take the bad times. When you step into the arena...the consequences can be historic losses, tough losses, great wins, and you have to deal with it. And that's the job."

  3. LIFE GOES ON. “You’ll remember this. It will sting. Maybe a 1 seed will get beat again, maybe not. Maybe we’ll be the only No. 1 seed to ever lose. It’s life. It goes on.”

  4. OWN THE LOSS AND GROW. "If our young men can realize [that], there's incredible growth in this, hopefully, it makes us a better team, and we'll be strengthened by the blow that cut us down. We were praised at the highest level, we were criticized, and I think you realize just how fleeting both of them are. So it allows you to get after it, and grow from it. Absolutely, [we're] definitely using it. Owning it."

UVA has owned it and is once again seeded #1, stronger for their loss. We invested in tickets for the entire ACC series, whether our team went all the way or not. It didn't, but we enjoyed watching good basketball, nevertheless and took to heart the four points above.

And boy am I thankful my personal life isn’t full of single elimination contests! I can know life goes on; wins or losses, successes or failures will not define me; and all circumstances--especially failure are opportunities for growth. MARCH ON!


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