Life Lessons From College Basketball's Biggest Tournament
You don't have to dig too deep into the surface of the sporting world to unearth uplifting life lessons. While any sport has countless examples during the regular season, some of the most memorable examples emerge on the biggest stage. The following are some important life lessons taken from college basketball's most famous tournament.
There Are No Guarantees
As it turns out, the most exciting element of the tournament is also a perfect example of how unpredictable life can be. Known for its ranking system, it isn't hard to see what teams experts believe will play in the national championship, but vying for that first seed sometimes doesn't mean as much in the end. In fact, since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been 47 upsets in the first round, a staggering statistic that not only shows the fallibility in the seeding process, but also the uplifting or unnerving idea that anything can happen and great teams don't always win.
Play Until The Whistle
With so many games happening in such a short period of time, it's thrilling to see many come down to the final seconds, and even more dramatic to see a few determined by "impossible" feats. Very few images from the tournament are more iconic than "The Shot," where Duke's Christian Laettner, after catching a full-court pass from teammate Grant Hill, spun around to hit the go-ahead jumper as time expired. Down by a point with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime and the ball on the other side of the court, nobody expected the Blue Devils to get a shot off in time, let alone win the game.
Some Calls Don't Go Your Way
Bad calls are part of the game, and you can't expect every matchup to be officiated flawlessly from start to finish. There have been times when a bad call or no-call has changed history. A most recent example comes from the 2015 National Title game between Duke and Wisconsin, where in the final two minutes, referees were unable to determine the correct call in a controversial out-of-bounds replay review, awarding the ball to Duke, who solidified their lead on the next possession. It just goes to show that some things in life are beyond our control, that achievements can be corrupted, and that playing by the rules means accepting that rules may work against you.
Getting Back Up
Getting all the way to the national championship is hard. Winning is even harder, especially after losing on the same stage the year before. Teams like Butler (2010-11), Michigan (1992-93) and Houston (1983-84) know what it's like to lose the big game two years in a row, but there are also teams that have redeemed their championship losses with a win a year later. Kentucky (1997-98), Duke (1990-91) and North Carolina (1981-82) were able to overcome heartbreaking defeats, fight back to the same stage and finish the job they started a year before, shattering odds and showcasing their resiliency.
Few Succeed Alone
Whether it's your dream to reach the top of the corporate ladder, create the next hit kids' game online or become basketball's next superstar, it's important to recognize that your path is easier to traverse if you have support. The big tournament is filled with moments where unlikely players make crucial plays, when the bench steps up to win the game, and it is also known for producing some of history's most iconic teams. If searching for an impressive example of teamwork, there's no need to look further than John Wooden's impressive sequence of UCLA squads, who won a record 10 titles during a 12-year period, including an astounding seven titles in a row from 1967 to 1973.
College basketball's biggest tournament is packed with inspiring moments every season, moments that anyone can look to for deeper meaning and motivation in their own lives. Discover inspiration of a different kind in the many pages of The Lakeside Collection, with value deals on everything from bathroom towels to bedding and useful baking tools.