I have to admit, since my alma mater, UCLA, tanked in the first round of March Madness, I’d lost interest in keeping up with the NCAA tournament . . . until Friday.
And yet, as surprising as it was to see No. 16 seed UMBC make history by knocking out No. 1 Virginia, it’s what happened off the basketball court that really has my attention.
Anne Graham Lotz reflects about the historic upset,
“As the wife of Danny Lotz, I had no option except to be a sports fan. It was expected. It was required! To this day, our family lives and breathes sports. I have come to love the competition, but even more, the human interest stories and life-lessons that can be gleaned from them.
Right now, everyone in our area is caught up in March Madness, as basketball teams compete on the road to the NCAA Championship. The #1 ranked team in the nation was Virginia, until last night. Virginia suffered what’s being described as the worst defeat in sports history. But take a few minutes to read behind the scenes…
Virginia Coach Tony Bennett has my applause.”
In her Facebook post, Anne shares a great article, and even greater life lesson, about the infamous loss and the coach. The writer of the article shares that during perhaps the worst moment of his coaching career, he, (Coach Tony Bennett), gave all of us a lesson about perspective and grace:
“Trying to tell the guys in there, ‘This is life – it can’t define you. You enjoy 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 . . . the adulation, the praise, it comes, and we got a lot of that this year. Then on the other side, there’ll be blame and people pointing that out. That can’t, in the end, define these guys and our team.”
The writer notes,
“But the beautiful part about Bennett is that I’m not sure a single coach in America would be better equipped to guide his players through such dark times as Bennett will be with his players. Bennett is a Christian, vocal but not pushy in his faith, a walking example of grace and humility.”
Recalling having seen the video of Bennett from two years ago, after he took a team further than he’d ever had before – only to lose to No. 11 seed Syracuse in the Elite Eight, he goes on to say,
“These postgame press conference moments are so often filled with clichés and dodges. Not so with Bennett. On that night, his players crushed, this is what Bennett said, paraphrasing Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We will have some tough nights, because you’re so close you could taste it, but absolutely joy will come in the morning for what these guys have established for Virginia basketball .”
I agree with the writer that one of the best things about sports is how often they serve as metaphors for life.
And, one of the best things about Anne is how she takes every opportunity to direct others to His Word . . . including a historic basketball loss and how a coach equips his team to handle it.